Short version, for people who dislike reading other people's long and not particularly interesting memories of their youths: Someone from my old teenaged social circle has reappeared and wants to start getting together socially, but I don't like him anymore and need a good way to say "No, you idiot, can't you see we have nothing in common anymore?" without feeling like a jerk.
Long version, for people who love long, unnecessarily detailed descriptions:
Back in high school, there was one summer where I spent almost every single evening with the same group of people. We all had daytime summer jobs, so around 5:00 we'd start calling around saying, "What are we doing tonight?" It was a lot of fun. I'd never been that social, before or since.
One member of the group was named Tal, and back when I was in high school I thought he was pretty great. He was bouncy and theatrical and outgoing and friendly, and the first day we met, he and I were assigned to go out on a snack run, and in the store he slung his arm over my shoulder. The first day we met! Plus, he was cute. Really cute. We saw each other a lot in our group, and he kept making me batiks and drawing charcoal sketches of me and sitting too close to me and so on. We did go out on one real date (he wanted me to meet his parents, who totally interviewed me as a Wife Candidate during that whole dinner--that would have freaked me out if I'd been a little older), but we never officially dated: he went off to two weeks of camp, and while he was gone, the ex-boyfriend I'd pined for all summer came back to me, that stupid loser, and I got back together with him. Later I kicked myself for losing my opportunity to date Tal, but LATER-later I realized it didn't really matter which of them I'd dated, because neither of them were going to work out anyway.
Tal and I lost touch when I went off to college, and in college I lost my taste for bouncy, theatrical guys, instead preferring quiet, environmentally-conscious, flannel-shirt-wearing guys. We wrote a few letters, he sent me a couple of mix tapes (mix tapes!), and that was nearly it: we did write once or twice in a "here's my new address" and "I got married" way, but nothing more.
This past fall, I got an email from him. He said he and his wife had moved to a nearby town, and that he'd love to get back in touch. He said his wife was pregnant with their first child, and he invited me to their baby shower. He hoped I and my whole family could come over some time for dinner.
I went to the baby shower, and here I am getting to the heart of this problem: I don't like him anymore. I don't like the theatrics, which seem even more abrasive in someone who is 32 not 17. I don't like his wife, who says things like "I consume very little sugar" and "I don't see why I have to get the same exact gestational diabetes screening as some obese woman who eats Twinkies all day" and "Yes, well, the way they do it in [country she spent a year in] is they...." She was snappish with him, and he was foppish and childlike. They referred to their cat as their "first baby." I found them both irritating, and their baby registry was annoying.
After the baby shower, Tal and I exchanged a few emails, mostly talking about people we used to know. I allowed the emails to taper off, and when he suggested getting together for dinner (meaning him and his wife, me and Paul and all the children--in their perfect house filled with their international breakable souvenir collection, I'm SO SURE), I put him off with an excuse about being busy over the holidays. Then I didn't email anymore, and I hoped that would be the end of it.
However, recently he emailed with an abject, bowing apology about being out of touch for so long, and reasserting his interest in booking a date for a get-together. I really, really don't want to. I thought he would have noticed at the shower, as I did, that we don't have anything in common anymore, but he hasn't. I'm not sure how to put him off. If it was someone saying, "We should really get together sometime" it would be easier, but he's saying, "Let's set a date and time! How about a week from Sunday?"
There are probably people who would say to him, "Listen, idiot, I don't even like you anymore," but what I need is something more subtle. Something that doesn't make me feel mean, but also doesn't let him keep trying to set up a time, because he's apparently not going to get the hint by me being all vague and "oh, currently too busy but maybe someday" approach. I could just not answer, but I don't think he's going to drop it. What if I wrote something like, "I don't think it's going to work out to get together, but let's try to keep in touch by email--I'd love to hear how your new baby is doing!"
What I really wish is that there were an emoticon I could use. A certain little face that communicated, "Hey, I know we used to be friends, but we're not anymore, and you really need to drop that whole idea before I have to hurt your feelings. Also, your wife is a humorless, judgmental bitch." Anyone seen an emoticon for that?
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