So then…I drive Tucker home from school, just as he receives a text from a classmate.
“Sienna invited me to a swimming party at her house on Saturday.”
“Oh, that should be fun,” I say. “I know you enjoyed going to her last pool party during the summer.”
“Yeah, but it’s at the same time as my comedy improv class and I think I’d rather go to that,” he says.
As I navigate traffic, I prepare to help my 12-year-old navigate social customs. “Well, you could tell her that—”
“I already replied.”
“What? Already? What did you say?” I ask.
“I texted her, ‘I’ll think about it,’” he says.
“WHAT? You told her you’ll think about it? Tucker, you can’t say that to someone who’s invited you to a party! That makes it sound like you’re some hot shot King of Siam who will CONSIDER deigning to grace her with your presence!”
“Oh,” he says, a little embarrassed. He’s a bright boy, but he doesn’t have too much experience in social communications, especially with girls.
I say, “You can’t let her think you’ll decide to attend or not, based on whether something else better comes along. Let her know that you already have the prior commitment to comedy class so you can let her down easy. You could text her back and say—”
“I replied,” he says.
Damn, these kids are fast texters!
“OK, what did you say?”
He looks at the screen and reads, “I wrote ‘I might have a prior commitment.’”
“WHAT? You told her you MIGHT have a prior commitment? No, no – you DO have one!” I exclaim. “That’s like saying you MIGHT have a root canal that day – or you MIGHT have a wedding to attend! You either do or you don’t. That’s as bad as saying ‘I can’t go because I plan to be sick that day!’”
He picks up his phone to start texting her.
“Wait, stop, Tucker. Stop texting. Put down the phone. Back away from the phone.”
“What?” he asks.
“OK, please just type ‘I can’t attend because I have comedy class at that time. But thank you for inviting me. Have a great time.’”
“Done,” he says.
I shoot a suspicious sideways glance at him as I drive round the corner. “You didn’t write ALL of that, did you?”
“I did!” He reads from his screen, “’Can’t go cuz of comedy. have fun. tks.’”
Oh good grief. “Can’t go cuz of COMEDY?” Will she even know that he means a comedy CLASS?
Or will she think the concept of humor prevents him from attending a pool party?
Well, at least he told her to have fun and “tks” for the invite.
Maybe he’s learning some social graces afterall…?
Meanwhile, I’m going to start using that excuse from now on.
The next time someone invites me to a parent volunteer meeting – or one of those home “parties” where they try to sell you cosmetics/jewelry – or a boring work event – I’m going to gracefully decline by saying, “I’m sorry — I can’t go…cuz of comedy.”
— Darcy Perdu
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(Does YOUR kid have all the social grace of a rhinoceros – or more like a gazelle? How about YOU? What’s your go-to excuse for wiggling out of invitations you’d rather not accept? Share in the Comments section!)