I've known this couple for eight years - John has actually known them since high school. We used to spend a LOT of time together, but over the past couple of years, their life circumstances (that sounds so cheesy, but I don't know how else to put it without being more specific and identifying) have changed such that we weren't able to see them as much - we spent time with them maybe a couple of times a year. But even when we did get around to hanging with them, instead of it being about "We have so much to catch up on!", it turned into Something Else To Check Off Our To-Do. It was more work to stay engaged and interested. There were topics that had to be avoided (work, politics, work politics, religion, cursing, drinking, dirty jokes, those times we lied and said John had to work when we really just wanted to do something else besides hang with you). HARD WORK, Y'ALL.
So a couple of weeks ago, when we received an invitation to their annual (G-rated) Halloween party (which we have been to seven out of the past eight years), we debated for DAYS over whether we should accept or go to another couple's house. A sense of duty, and I guess martyrdom, dictated we go to The Stuffy's party.
Mr. Stuffy is a horror movie GEEEEEK, and loves games, so over the years he has concocted games for guests to play - years ago, it was just quickie Halloween/horror movie trivia, some variation of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey that i can't recall - easy stuff. This year, the list of Halloween-inspired activities were:
- Memory (pick 2 squares at a time, try to get a match)
- Halloween trivia crossword puzzle
- Simple jigsaw puzzle race
- And the grand finale, a multimedia form of Jeopardy, with ONE HUNDRED CLUES, with some complicated, crazyass, made-up scoring system.
Now, don't get me wrong - I am a nerd for games in general, and I LOVE competition. But we had gotten to the party about 7:30, didn't start this last game until almost 10, and by the time we finished, it was midnight. It was like the dinner party episode of The Office, except NO WINE AND NO OSSU BUSCO AND ALSO NO WINE. And all night, I would have to wait until I could get John cornered before I could whisper my dirty riff off of someone's innocuous comment.
It was just.....work. And not very fun.
John's argument with continuing to spend time with them occasionally is that we are just out of practice, and once we get back into the swing of it, things will be easier and more natural. And while I can understand that rationale, I also feel like there should be a natural chemistry with one's friends that we just don't have with them anymore. Not to mention the fact that we feel like we have to be much more buttoned-up around them than we used to.
They have three kids now, and they homeschool them. They are much more involved in their church (LDS). None of these things are dealbreakers for us, but the combination of the three has changed them - which isn't a bad thing - but they are not the same people we used to know.
And so I am back to where I've been about it for the past two years - is it worth the effort any more?