The coefficient of social friction


It’s a well known fact that alcohol is a social lubricant but what is lesser known is the coefficient of friction between an individual and this lubricant. Last weekend, I went to my first party here at Ross. By the end of the evening, most people were sufficiently lubricated and mostly very friendly. There was a girl who was far friendlier than the rest. I thought her niceness stemmed from her being a first year (Now, second years, don’t come beat me up but y’ll know that we are a bit stiff). So, when I saw her in the bus two days later, I greeted her with more than my usual excited hello only to receive a dull and disinterested hello back. At first, I wondered if I’d done anything socially inappropriate during the party for her to throw a disapproving hello at me. Then I remembered that she was probably at least 10x more intoxicated than I was (if my one Sangria even counts!) to even remember if I did do something stupid.

She asked me why I came to Ross for an exchange and when I responded with Ross being a great school for ops, she seemed less than pleased that Ross was my only choice of exchange schools despite having several schools to choose from. So, I assumed she must have a far more meaningful reason and decided to give her the benefit of explaining her decision. She proudly declared that her husband happened to visit Ross last year and liked it, hence she was here for her MBA. Now, I don’t know if this is a good reason for someone to be here at Ross, but I couldn’t make my peace with this girl who’d held my hand during the party with such fraanship, now seemed to roll her eyes over my decision to come to Ross. It was at this magical moment I wondered if the coefficient of friction between her and alcohol was much lower than what I’d assumed.

Once this concept took birth in my head, I began wondering if there’s ever a good way to know what this coefficient of friction is. So, here’s how you do it – First, observe the extent of one’s social exuberance when the individual’s drunk. Let’s call this state “1” (Yes, I operate in binary or tristate at the most). If you are sure you will never meet this person in a non “1” state, ignore the rest of this paragraph. But then, if you see them again that too in a “0” state, let them make the first move. Interact with your natural “0” state vigour. Once you’ve seen their social horizon or the lack of it in this “0” state enough number of times, make edits if need be. The important point is to gather sufficient data points just to not be too quick to judge. This coefficient is dynamic and I imagine it exponentially increases with the amount of alcohol consumed until a sweet spot when any additional alcohol consumed had no effect on one’s social lubrication.Beyond this sweet spot, the dynamic coefficient of friction becomes static and anything that comes off additional alcohol consumption is just vomit!


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