Have you been asked to go out with people whom you really don’t know well? It’s awkward, right? I never like to put myself, my spouse or anyone else for that matter in an uncomfortable situation so I’ve learned the only way to get around the awkwardness is to include what I like to call, “The Buffer Couple.”
MEET THE BUFFERS
The Buffers are the couple who are known to both you and to the people who originally asked for plans. They “buff” in-between and act as the distraction necessary to avoid any potential weirdness at the table. Silence among friends is fine, but when silence sets in among those you barely know before the appetizers even hit the table it can be pure torture… Which is why the attendance of The Buffer Couple is MANDATORY!
BROKERING THE BUFFER DEAL
Me: “Hey, are you guys free next Saturday for dinner?”
My Friend: “Yah. What’s up? Whadja have in mind?”
Me: “Well, the So-n-So’s asked us to go out. I barely know her, but I think maybe I could like them and you guys are already friends… So I need you to be the buffer. There’s no way I’m going unless you come. Plus, Andy’ll never go without someone else also. You can’t say no. Please say yes!”
JUST ADMIT IT…. IT HAPPENS IN YOUR HOUSE TOO, RIGHT?
Come on. You know we’ve all had this exact conversation before, you just didn’t have a name for it. Well, now you do. The Buffer Couple makes everything alright.
My Husband: “What are we doing this weekend?”
Me: “Oh, we’re going out with the Whatchamacallits.”
My Husband: “Who?”
Me: “The Whatchamacallits”
My Husband: “Who’s that? I’m not doing that.”
Me: “This girl I met. Remember? From that party? I told you she asked for plans. We gotta go. I met the husband too. He seems cool. You’ll like him.”
My Husband: “Did you get a buffer?”
My Husband: “Okay; Alright. I guess.”
BUFFERS AREN’T ALWAYS PLURAL. THEY CAN EXIST SINGULARLY TOO. LIKE AT LUNCH!
Keep in mind that solo buffers also exist and can sometimes be even more essential than a duo depending on the circumstances. For instance, let’s say a (brand new) acquaintance asks you to lunch. It’s just gonna be the two of you. In broad daylight. She seems fine but you really know nothing about her. What you do know is that the agreed upon salad place doesn’t serve alcohol or take reservations, so you’ll probably have to wait for a table which will only prolong the lunch. Are you panicking yet? Or more like dreading? It’s kinda like going on a blind date, but worse, because there’s no bar! Further, what if you’re worried you’ll know early on that you’re not having lunch with this person again? Do you really want to struggle through the entire meal alone? To escape this potential nightmare, YOU INVITE THE SOLO BUFFER!
Want a real life example?
Robin, my brand new friend who’s last name (at the time) I didn’t even know because that’s how brand new we are as friends, asks me to lunch. She was so sweet when I met her the day we dropped our kids off at the airport for sleep away camp, but I had a splitting headache from crying and had only eaten Xanax for breakfast so my judgement, well, I’m not really sure.
The day before our date she sends me a text.
‘Oh awesome,’ I say to myself after reading her message. ‘Robin got us a buffer. Courtney’s our mutual friend. She’s gonna buff. Perfect!’
THE BUFFER VS. THE BUFFEES
It was pouring rain the day we met for lunch. Courtney, (The Buffer) was running late so Robin and I, (The Buffees) had to wait even longer for her to arrive. I literally could have eaten my entire meal and been halfway home before Courtney finally texted to say she wasn’t coming because she got stuck in the awful weather and was drenched. I thought to myself, ‘OMGGGGGG! THE BUFFER IS BAILING!’
Has this scenario ever happened to you? Think about it. It has, hasn’t it? How often have you been the Buffer for a friend? Did you ever need that friend to return the favor between you and another Buffee? In your opinion, when you’re out as couples is it easier to be The Buffers or The Buffees? Would your spouse ever go out with a strange couple without having mutual friends to buff? Be honest. I want your thoughts.
JUST TO LET YOU KNOW……. Robin and I had a very nice time on our own and I reallllllllly do like her. So much so that I when I decided to write this blog I wanted her permission to use our lunch as an example. I got a huge, unpolished kick out of the fact that when I asked her if she knew what a “buffer” was she laughed while replying, “Of course, but FYI Courtney wasn’t a buffer. We tend to just include each other if scheduling works.”
INSERT AN UNPOLISHED “WHOOPS” HERE!
I still wasn’t a hundred percent sure how truthful that was until I got a text from Courtney that said, “I heard you thought I was the buffer!!!!”
I’m sure there’s more lunches in our future for Robin and I whether Courtney comes or not, and who knows, we may even graduate to a dinner or two down the road. By then I’m sure a buffer won’t be necessary but just in case, I’m hoping we can pick a dark place that serves alcohol!