Saturday, March 01, 2014

Single Serving Friends

Consider the relationship between your first cousin from your father's side of the family and your first cousin from your mother's side of the family. Unless they are married to each other (which turned out to be true in my family) or they know each other outside of the link my family provides them, chances are high that these two people only meet when there is a major event in my family. So they meet only a few times in a span of 20 - 25 years. They would've met during my parents marriage, meet again when I was born but after that they would only need to meet when I get married. Imagine the convenience this single-serving relationship offers. But wouldn't be awesome if the frequency was more than once a decade but not as suffocating as once every other day?

Friends who you only meet in kids birthday parties are true single serving friends. These are people you know because your kid goes to school with their kids or they are your friend's friends from a different circle of friends.  That common friend is the only intersection between you and this single serving friend. And you only need to meet this person only when this common friend hosts a birthday party or a house warming party.

If occasional sex with no strings attached was considered the holy grail of man-woman relationships. Then conversation with no friendship attached is the holy grail of random person in birthday party -> another  random person in birthday party relationships. You are standing there watching your kids run around and have extreme fun. 2 hours to kill before they serve you lunch and its terribly boring. This is when the prototypical desi male takes out the smart phone and pretends they actually have serious stuff to do on the phone. In reality they have no life and nothing special is going on. They are probably browsing twitter or reading some FB comment. But they make it appear as if they are really busy. It took the world some time to wise up but now everyone knows that the guy staring into his phone with a dumb smile is a dork. How does one avoid this kind of an awkward situation?

Here comes your single-serving friend to the rescue. This dude could be South Indian, North Indian, Italian, Latin american, Caucasian - it does not really matter. You could have a solid conversation, kill two hours and there is no day-after phone call or weekend-after meet up with the family.  You could say anything you want. Here is what is awesome. Once you get introduced, you cross the awkwardness once and for all. The next time you meet you can actually pick up exactly where you left off. I have some single serving friends who I meet only once a year. But it seems like we pick up a conversation from a year ago like it was yesterday. Its like a stage play. The moment we actors enter into that milieu we remember the lines, the plot and all that crap. We just continue the conversation. There is no awkward introduction etc. You can straight away jump into a conversation. I actually have 4 separate sets of single serving friends. I can actually choose a topic and have a conversation on the same topic with these 4 sets of people. Its very interesting. Like enacting the same drama with different set of actors.

Tyler Durden assumed that single serving friends were single serving because you met them in a airplane ride and then never met them again. But that isn't how single serving works. I can go to a restaurant exactly when I choose to and have single serving of a dish and feel no obligation to either (a) have a second serving or (b) visit the restaurant again. That is what is called a true single-serving meal.


Anonymous said...

Hmmmm I think I would prefer to be the dork staring at my phone without even reading anything or watch the kids play and enjoy that rather than tolerate some prototypical dumb desi banter from smart Alecs who crticize and are cynical about anything and everything under the sun.

It is a different matter if it is a close circle of friends where casual and normal conversations happen.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how it works out in France. The French think of us Americans to be loud and obnoxious in social spaces when we visit their country. Having eye contact with a woman or flashing a casual smile at her may be considered flirtatious. It is even rude to talk to someone you don't know (in passing). I guess "single serving friends" is an unknown terminology in France for which i suppose they don't have a proper translation.

Anonymous said...

Damn! What an eye-opener. ;)