I had some friends in town this weekend, and on Monday night we went out for a dinner where everyone cooks whatever they want on a grill in the center of the table. I had originally contacted one friend who I hadn't seen in a long time, let's call him Alphonse, to see if he and his former girlfriend Ariel (let's call her) would like to go out like we used to--with an extended group of people, many of whom don't know each other, and have a communal, the more the merrier, sort of meal. They also had not really gotten to know my fiancee, and I wanted to arrange a meeting. Ariel couldn't make it, so Alphonse (why did I pick that name?) came by himself to meet up with a few others who came from out of town.
Turns out that neither side had ever really liked each other in the past. News to me.
Alphonse was there for an hour and a half of fairly innocuous conversation, then apruptly said "Well, I gotta go" and plunked down some money for the food and just walked briskly away. I don't even recall him saying goodbye. Later, Ariel emailed me and said "I'm glad I didn't go. I don't like those people."
I suppose I bear some fault for not cross-checking lists to make sure there weren't any people that don't get along, but in Kaohsiung there is enough coming and going of people that it isn't all that easy to keep track of, and there is always a lot of mixing of groups. Especially at an outdoor barbeque meal, which you only do with lots of people. But isn't it a bit rude and immature to claim that you are glad you didn't go?
Yes, I haven't seen you in about a year, but it would be have been just too much to be in the presence of someone I don't like in order to talk with you for a while, and meet your fiancee.
That's great. I will be sure and NOT invite you to my wedding. You will see some people you don't like. Isn't it generally our duty to socially negotiate our surroundings? Unless there is a restraining order involved, we are always going to have to get along with someone we don't like for a short time.
What was also surprising was that both "sides" took the trouble to indcate their opinion of the other party to me during the meal. Can't these people just hold their opinions to themselves and smile gracefully? Is there an age or some condition when you stop doing that? Am I missing something here?