This world is much too small.
Let’s suppose you are subbing on a soccer team for the first time. Your standard conversation-with-athletic-strangers goes fairly normally, and after disclosing that you ran at a small university where all of the athletes know each other…comes the inevitable question.
“Wow! Do you know my cousin?”
Here are some socially acceptable answers to this question:
A. “Yes, isn’t it great that she and that guy finally got married? So happy for them!”
Or, one can be less personal while still being personable:
B. “Yeah, I spent a lot of time with that particular group of people while I was at school.”
Or, there’s always the short and sweet answer:
C. “Yes, I know her.”
But do not – I repeat, DO NOT, under any circumstances – freeze, forget to think things through, and spew the first words that enter your head, therefore making a terrible jerk of yourself:
D. “Yeah….I used to date her husband.”
Because no matter how far removed from that situation you are – no matter how truly happy you are that things have worked out as they have – there is no positive direction that conversation can take.
Especially if you’re in the middle of the game, and promptly RUN AWAY after making the above statement.
You might have a good friend who does her best to contain the awkward word-vomit after you leave. (“It was a long time ago! She’s married now too! And happily! Wow, it sure seems like everyone knows her old boyfriends!”) But let’s be honest. Anyone capable of producing this level of awkwardness is pretty much hopeless.
…And that’s what I told my friend after this happened to her. Because all hypothetical stories told on non-anonymous blogs happened to someone’s friend, right?