Hanging out: a conundrum for our time

“Let’s hang out.”

Ah, a phrase to strike terror into any anti-social person’s heart. What does that even mean, anyway? Is it a genuine request for quality time? Or a platitude, our generation’s way of saying, “Hey, I don’t really like you, but I feel like I should be polite and sound like I do”?

If the request for bonding is sincere, awkward texts go back and forth, as both parties try to figure out a time that works best for both of them. A time that has a decent “get out of hang out jail free” excuse is also a great idea for those times when you realize that staying home in your sweats is a better idea.

If plans for “hanging out” actually congeal, what is it, exactly, is there to do? Play RockBand? Be annoyed by co-hang-outter’s selection of YouTube videos? My older brother’s idea of hanging out is going for a run—straight up Pike’s Peak. No thanks, bro! You can keep that insanity to yourself.

To add insult to injury, if you actually do hang out with someone new, the rumors will abound. Tales will guarantee that there will not be a repeat performance, mostly because the amount of scuttlebutt smothers your Facebook profile.

Who even came up with the phrase, anyway? There is no hanging in hanging out. Hanging is reserved for cattle thieves and Iraqi dictators. Hopefully, there’s no out in hanging out, either. I don’t like the idea of the word out itself. Out in the cold, out of cash, out to get someone, taking the trash out. A negative aura surrounds the word.

Still, as bad as “hanging out” is, there are worse terms to use. Never, ever let anyone make you “chillax”—because even though that word was admitted to the dictionary this year, it still isn’t acceptable vocabulary for any conversation (mostly because it was used in the movie “Twilight.”)
An even better idea, of course, is to avoid all socialization and focus on classes—but that defeats the purpose of college, right?

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