Transcript, as promised.
Me: Just FYI, I was startled the other day to hear that you’d made plans with Pixie that matryoshka’d* with the plans you’d made with ME. It’s marginally better than it could’ve been, since I was invited too, but still – the thing to do would’ve been to ask if I might be up for it (and cancel if I wasn’t), not TELL me “I’m going to go hang out with someone else on a day that was previously earmarked for you, but you can come if you want.”
I don’t ever want to wonder whether you’re coming here to see me, or because my apartment is near something else you’d like to do. 😛
Pedant: Hey, actually I hadn’t given Pixie an answer when I invited you. She told me she was free and wanted to meet up, and I told her I’d text her to say if I could make it.
Me: Ah. I kind of thought that’s what had happened**. What you actually said to me at the time, though, was “I’m going for coffee with Pixie tomorrow, and you’re welcome to come, too.”
I know that sometimes these social distinctions are difficult for you to see, so I’m telling you: your specific word choice came off as though your plans were a done deal and my presence was optional. Had you told me exactly what you just emailed, that would’ve been a whole different thing – not bothersome at all.
Does that make sense?
The Pedant: Yes, yes it does.
So, that happened. But now, in trademark Cowgirl fashion, I’m (over?)analyzing this exchange and wondering some things.
Like…is it significant that The Pedant didn’t suck up to me as much as he usually does when I call him out? Normally he thanks me for bringing matters to his attention, for instance, but he didn’t here. Often he’ll offer some kind of reassurance, even, but he did not (for instance) mention in this response that his visits are about me and not my convenient location.
I’m probably being paranoid. Anyway I think my original email to him was shorter and less formal-sounding than the previous ones so he’s just mirroring my tone.
But also, reviewing what he emailed me (“I told her I’d text her to say if I could make it” [emphasis mine]), it still kinda looks like he would’ve bailed on me to go hang out with Pixie but figured he should ask my permission first. Although there’s a good chance he actually told her “No, I can’t, I’m at Cowgirl’s that day. But I bet she’d like to see you, too; maybe we can all hang out. I’ll let you know” but edited this for brevity when he told me about it. We all know he’s not always great at seeing the nuances his words evoke.
Anyway, I’ve exhausted my assertiveness for the day and do not want to email The Pedant back to keep picking away at this issue. It’s probably fine, anyway, and if a similar thing comes up again I’ll try my best to speak my mind right in the moment instead of waiting.
Also, on a completely different note, I generally like the idea of The Pedant integrating me into his social life a little more. I hope I haven’t discouraged him from doing so. I just need him to use a little more common sense next time.
*Matryoshka are those Russian nesting dolls. You know, each one fits inside the next.
**And I did, too. The Pedant has, in the past, given every indication of knowing how to juggle multiple outings in a fairly socially acceptable way. It seemed more likely that the problem here was with his word choices – an area where he’s had issues in the past. I wish I’d had the ovaries to ask clarification questions the second he said “Pixie and I are meeting up tomorrow” because he would’ve put my mind at ease pretty much immediately.