So, you’re home for winter break. The holidays and all that. You see your family, you celebrate, you waste your time watching movies on the couch. But you aren’t the only one who has come home. Your friends (high school or otherwise) are all home too, and you want to see everyone. Hopefully they want to see you too.
The trouble is, for me anyway, that I have so many friends and aquaintences I’d like to see. Sometimes I even feel compelled to meet up with people who aren’t necessarily close friends of mine just to find out what they’re up to these days. Of course my really close friends and I make time to see each other. But there are a lot of people that I don’t end up spending time with. We run into each other at the mall or a holiday concert, and our conversation goes something like this:
“Hi, how are you?”
“Great! So, how’s school?”
“School is excellent; I love it there.”
“Oh good. Hey, we should really get together sometime to catch up.”
That yeah, definitely is the tombstone on any future get-together we might have in mind. Of course we want to get together, and at the time of the conversation we have every intention of doing so. But somewhere along the line that yeah, definitely creeps in and ruins everything. In polite conversation these days, yeah, definitely has come to mean
“I’d really like to hang out sometime, but we’re both busy so it probably won’t happen.”
Let’s break it down. Yeah is of course an informal version of the word “yes”. Here it means “maybe”, or even “probably not”. Definitely is a trickier word. On the surface it sounds great.
“We should definitely get together.”
But in truth it becomes a substitution for the actual event. The word definitely says
“I care about our friendship enough to use this strong word. I am putting effort and caring into us.”
The false promise given by definitely eventually replaces the formal act of getting together.
On rare occasions, I do actually hang out with the yeah, definitely people. It’s often pretty awkward. We’ve used insincere pledges on each other so many times that our friendship has sort of withered away. We find we have nothing to talk about anymore, or perhaps we never really did. Maybe, we think, it would have been better to have just left it at our chance meeting and our yeah, definitely.