i serve in a country where many people back at home have a possibility of passing through. therefore, i often get these random messages (through facebook, nevertheless) of people who will be passing through this country and want me to “hang out”/”grab a meal” or the worst one, “take them around.”
case in point: last week, this person from my uni days – someone i rarely ever talked to – sent me a private message on facebook saying they were going to be in town for a few days and wanted to see if i could do any of those above. initial reaction from me was, “…who???”
and then i remembered that this was someone who was part of a 300+ member christian group that i was a part of back in my uni days. are you kidding me? we barely even talked back then. to prove it, we’re not even friends on facebook. ha.
don’t get me wrong, i love meeting up with people, but gut reaction usually tells me they just want someone to pass the time with while they’re in a foreign country; they have no interest in learning about the culture of the country, much less the people group i serve with. plus, it’s pretty easy to tell if they actually want to know what i’m doing here. i’d had more than enough of these conversations where essentially they just want to catch me up on their lives at home, but don’t want to know what i’m doing here. therefore, sometimes i’m not sure who to blame – the person? or facebook for giving them a false impression that we are friends just because we have friends in common? not sure.
most of the time, it comes down to the fact that i simply don’t have the time to take random people/barely-acquaintances out just for “fun.” if i can’t even get through a meal, there won’t be much hope for hanging out for an entire afternoon. last time, an acquaintance was in town and wanted to grab a meal. both of us being girls, i figure it wouldn’t be that hard to have a meal and just chat.
have you ever had nothing to say SO MUCH that you couldn’t even think up things to say?? most awkward meal ever. and most people would agree that i’m pretty good at making up small talk. but i agreed to the meal because i felt bad if i didn’t. plus i assumed that since i kinda knew her, it wouldn’t be too horrible. and then i realized that we really didn’t know each other at all.
so do i feel bad turning people down? before, yes. now…not so much. people assume that since i’ve lived here for awhile now, i’ll know all the places to go or where to eat. sorry, most people (even the locals) have no interest in coming over to the ghetto where i live, and i am limited on how many “expensive” places i can eat (i’m on a missio’s budget, after all). why would i want to eat at an expensive or foreign restaurant that costs 5x what a local meal would cost? i don’t.
well, maybe if you’re treating. and if i we can remember each others’ names.