Sunday, November 11, 2007

In which I am a puppy

I consider myself of average social prowess, plus or minus depending on the amount of effort I'm willing to expend. Every now and then, though, I feel decidedly uncool, in a way that humanities graduate students are not supposed to. To wit, the latest example: sending an (over-?)enthusiastic email to a new-ish friend about some good news pertaining to her and her boyfriend, in which I alluded to a conversation we'd had a month ago, both mildly liquored up. Now comes the moment I often fear when a friendship is getting off the ground: was I too forward? Puppy-ish? Overeagerness is decidedly not an attractive attribute, but the "over" in "overeager" is a variable dependent on the situation, on the "coolness" of the parties involved. Transparently assuming an intimacy that doesn't quite exist yet can be a gesture of friendship, or it can be an unwelcome imposition that makes the addressee want to step slowly away.

(Commenting on unfamiliar blogs can take on this texture as well, since (in my mind) some bloggers are "cool" enough to shy away from my presumption. Perhaps if we spoke a language that had the familiar/unfamiliar second-person pronoun switch (the "tu"/"vous" distinction in French, for example), this difficulty would be lessened.)


Lucy said...

Would it really be easier? Or would we just obsess over whether or not to be the first to use "tu", or whether we should have used it? I know I would (and have, when attempting to speak French)

kermitthefrog said...

Point taken, and I've had similar experiences... and the tu/vous distinction doesn't really hold for those situations in which you're congratulating a friend on having her boyfriend spend Christmas with her, does it?