On Grabbing Coffee In New York

This thing about grabbing coffee is that it’s weird. It’s such a New York thing. Let’s get coffee, you would say, as an invitation to a conversation that may just be a pretext for networking — or mentorship, or friendship, or romance. It could be the beginning of a lot of things, but it could also be a decisive end. Screw up a coffee chat with a recruiter or someone important and no amount of I’m sorry emails will make up that one bad impression, which is now going to travel down the aisles of Midtown in wisps of speculative gossip passed on by recruiters, managers, and analysts alike. Remember that one kid who spilled coffee on me and then just stood there in horror? I don’t recall being the star of a zoo exhibit.

Friendship is a safe bet, not much can go wrong there, but then again, the problem isn’t really about what could go wrong. It’s about how to make it go well. Two strangers jostling for conversation middle grounds while holding varied perspectives on life. The spectacle is akin to watching tennis players in a match — who’s serving and who’s hitting it back? After all, friendships borne out of conversations are founded on wit, charm, and an open sense of authenticity. Would love to hang out again.

Romance, the trickiest out of all. A coffee date is not really a date per say; it’s the date before dates. It’s the date to evaluate if you are interesting enough to be taken to other more elaborate dates involving some level of planning. Under the general umbrella of dates, there is a need to lightheartedly impress while creating a sense of mystery — an allure that hooks the unsuspecting subject to the aura of romance or sexual tension. Failure to do so would simply engender methodical sips of coffee when the conversation runs dry. A sign of a successful coffee date then, is an unfinished cup. I cannot wait to for this to be over or alternatively I cannot believe this was over so fast.

Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

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