Let’s keep in touch!

Recently, I’ve stumbled upon this little piece of wisdom: “stop pretending that you are going to keep in touch with someone if you don’t really mean it.” The context of this advice was when you run into old schoolmates or workmates, chat for 2 minutes and then exclaim: “let’s keep in touch.”

I find myself in agreement with this advice.  When someone tells me “let’s keep in touch”, I take the statement at face value: that person really intends to keep in touch.   Now, I realize that people often say things they do not mean.   They say things like “Wow! I love your new hairdo.” while thinking “Who’s your hairdresser?  A ferret?”  So it is quite likely that “let’s keep in touch” is a socially appropriate thing to say but that there is no real intent behind it.  As likely as it may be, that’s not the way I take it.  I take it as an expression of real intent.

I’m not the kind of guy who readily keeps in touch with people. So I’d find it dishonest on my part to let the person who says “let’s keep in touch” believe that there’s any substantial probability that we will, in fact, keep in touch.  So my reply to “let’s keep in touch” is usually to point out how in actuality it is unlikely to happen.  And then the reaction I get is similar to the one I’d get if I had just said “away from me, you leper!”

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