First World Problems: A Social Situation
First World Problems is a weekly advice column for India’s first world population. Write to Judy at firstname.lastname@example.org (confidentially!) if you’ve broken a nail, felt a little blue, yellow or green lately,
or had a strange encounter of the any-numbered kind.
PROBLEM: Social media has made it impossible to tell white lies. Earlier you could tell one friend your kid is sick, or you have a meeting, and go meet another without having to worry about Facebook photos or check-ins giving the game away. I don’t want to come across as a liar, but I don’t see any other way to organise my social life. Do you?
Why do you want to lie? Tell them you can’t meet them ’cause you’re meeting another friend. Or do what I do and just tell them you’re not in the mood for company. But then again, I don’t have a social circle. It’s more like a semi-circle. Yeah, okay, it’s just two people. But if your social life has driven you to write to an advice columnist, perhaps it’s time to give my mantra a shot: Fewer friends, more TV shows. Sure, you have to find friends to fill the void after every season finale, but I’ve found that Nutella is an excellent alternative. Because Nutella will love you even if it finds out that you’ve been lying. If you’re worried about the weight gain, make room for a solid workout session in your daily schedule and, before you know it, you’ll have more socially acceptable reasons not to see your friends.
PROBLEM: I recently set up two friends of mine who I thought were likely to hit it off. The woman is smitten and keeps telling me how she thinks this is ‘the one’; the man says it didn’t really click for him but believes he will manage to let her down gently without hurting her feelings. He has specifically asked me not to tell her. I’m not sure what’s more important: to keep my word to one friend or save my other friend from imminent heartbreak?
Oh, dear. You are That Person who calls the happily-married mother of three and tells her that you saw her husband with another woman because you feel it’s up to you to solve the world’s problems — aren’t you? Here’s the thing: It’s not. Because for starters, that probably wasn’t an affair and now you’ve planted the seeds of suspicion in this woman’s head, which are probably not going to go away anytime soon. Or if it was one, it was certainly not important enough to tear a family apart. At least, it shouldn’t have been your call.
But before I misplace my general frustration with the world on you, let’s talk about this specific situation. Unless you have reason to believe that this guy is a complete douchebag who is going to hurt your friend, there is absolutely no reason for you to stick your nose into this. Let him let her down gently. That’s exactly what would have happened had you not been the mutual friend. Your friend will get over it. It’s what people do. But going for the whole He’s-just-not-that-into-you blunt delivery when someone is 10 feet off the ground planning their imaginary wedding? That’s the real heartbreak.