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Tree’s Guide to Not Immediately Offending Old Acquaintances [OPINION]

Tree Riddle / Shawn Drake

Running into old acquaintances can be awkward. Whether it’s a friend I haven’t seen in a while or an old high school pal, about 1 in every 5 of those encounters ends with me wanting to face-punch them — here’s why.

I’m a pretty tall dude (6’4″) and in high school I was as thin as a rail. Probably because I had the metabolism of a teenager and was a hell of a lot more active than I am today. Plus, I didn’t drink as much beer back then. As you can see in the picture above, I’m fatter these days. Not my favorite thing about myself but I’m okay with it (for now). That is until I run into people from back in the day that, for some reason, thinks that’s a great way to kick off the conversation. I’ve got news for you — it’s not.

Honestly, there are a hundred more interesting things we could talk about — the new Pearl Jam album, the fact that I’m getting married in October, how awesome my kids are, Kate Upton’s boobs, my job that occasionally gives me some pretty effing cool opportunities,  the weather, the evolution of calculators… literally, any other subject is a better ice breaker.

Maybe it’s because I was raised with a certain amount of respect for people’s feeling, maybe it’s just common sense, maybe it’s Maybelline… but I would never say something like that to someone, especially not a friend. How does someone expect me to react when “Man, you’ve put on some weight,” or “Boy, you really got big” is the first thing out of their mouth. I’ll tell you how I want to react — with a bitch-slap right to the kisser.

Usually I take the high road and say something like “Thanks, for immediately pointing that out. It’s my favorite thing to talk about,” with an extraordinary amount of snark. I’m always taken aback by the level of social ignorance it takes to say something like that to someone’s face. I wouldn’t walk up to one of these people and say “Hey, you haven’t gotten any less ugly since high school” or “Wow! You’re still single? Aren’t you in your 30s?” Most of those encounters are awkward enough without someone putting their foot in their mouth right away.

So do yourself a favor (especially if you’re someone that knows me), don’t assume it’s okay to talk about a person’s flaws just because you haven’t seen them in a while. Hell, you should never assume that in any situation! From now on, I’m not going out of my way to be civil with people that can’t conduct themselves with a bit of decorum. In other words — If you have the balls to tell me that I’m fat, I will look you in the eyes and blurt out the first of your flaws that I can think of… and I’ll hope it’s a soul-crusher. Good day.

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