How much do you divulge to a new acquaintance? Someone who you have not met thru the usual alternative channels? Except for work and school, with their artificial spheres of friendship and camaraderie, I haven’t made a potential new friend outside those spaces in…I don’t know how long.
Today, I did.
Well, not exactly today. I’d met her a couple weeks ago. We were both at my Tuesday morning coffee shop, me with my laptop to ostensibly get some programming done before work, she with hers to (I was to learn) do an interview over Slack for a programming job. She saw the program I had up on my screen when she walked behind me to get to her table, and after a moment, asked me what language I was programming in. Being me, I was flustered and promptly forget every programming language out there. I think I may have said something about CSS and React, but I’m not sure. But she didn’t seem to notice my flustered-ness, and we kept talking about about programming, and discovered that we had both been enrolled in Launchcode. She had just finished and was in the job hunt part, I am still enrolled. That’s when I found out about her online interview, and aspirations as a programmer, and one thing led to another, with me promising to email her the contact info of someone I knew in the industry.
So that made a natural opening to contact her, and ask how her interview went, and she asked about how my learning was going, and we hatched a plan to meet for coffee again the next Tuesday.
So there I was, at my coffee place…waiting for her…and wondering, how, when and how much of your self do you divulge to run-of-the-mill vanilla people who might turn out to be a friend? As I mentioned above, I don’t have any friends that don’t know about me. Poly, kinky, erotica writer, sex blogger. It’s all out there. And I’m out of practice making a new friend who…well, let’s be honest here…might not be approving of such. And, not knowing how close of friends we might become, maybe I don’t need her to know that much about me. So when do I say the things that will give her insight to the real me?
It’s an easy call with potential lovers. I am upfront from the very beginning, first “real” communication, whether that is in email, IM, text or real life (tho I don’t often get to RL without first having a lot of discussions via those other mediums.) And most people that I get to the point of crossing the line into lovers have usually found me through channels in which I am completely open anyway.
I’m sort of at a loss here. I’d hate for us to become friends on false pretenses, with me feeling that I had to hide my life from her. OTOH, as a casual acquaintance, she doesn’t need to know everything. But when is it the right time to divulge these things, and how much effort do I put to not divulging them if I don’t want to? Do I say, if she asks about my Tuesday mornings here, “I stay out here Monday nights with one of my…partners/lovers/boyfriends…so I come here for breakfast on the way to work on Tuesdays”? Or be more evasive and not mention the boyfriends. Or not use the plural at all? There are so many times when how and what I do, in general, includes references to the two of them. At school, I just use the plural, and don’t make a big deal about it. No one has ever asked, and I’m okay with that. But I certainly don’t want to be someone that deliberately throws my not-exactly-conventional life at someone else.
Update: Well, I never had to worry about it. She didn’t show. It ended up being a (sort of) miscommunication, and she and I might work it out another time. I’m not heartbroken, but it was awfully interesting to contemplate the situation (and a little anxious-making, lol). I wonder what I might have decided?