My advice to the dimmer of you is the following: if you wish to come across as slightly brighter by expanding your vocabulary, don’t go about it by picking a single word and sticking to it.
Case in point:
We’ve been coming across a slew of young, professional types, traveling through Southeast Asia on their last hurrah before getting married and settling down.
Take Goff*, for example: a late-20s (manageable), athletic (doable), financier (perfectly acceptable).
Chlo and I took him out for a couple of Angkors and a chat. (We’re kind of a two-for-one deal here in Cambodia).
At first, Goff seemed pretty sharp–well-travelled, well-educated, well-disposed.
Even when speaking of his ex-girlfriends, Goff had only good things to say.
“I dated this 2nd-grade schoolteacher. She was a great girl, really gregarious.” How sweet. And how smart. Gregarious! I wondered what that meant!
Then he started talking about one of his buddies. One of his best buddies. A great buddy, “a really gregarious guy.” Hmm, that word again. Gregarious. Gregarious. I nodded in understanding but between you and me, I cursed myself for not carrying a pocket dictionary. Because along with saving me in these types of situations, it would also make me super cool.
At the end of the evening, we returned to our guesthouse, where he politely said goodnight. “Thanks for letting me come out with you guys,” he expressed, “you girls are really gregarious.”
As soon as I entered the guesthouse, I pulled open my laptop and looked up the mysterious word:
“Fond of company; sociable” or: “Living in flocks or loosely organized.”
I really hope he meant the former.
In hindsight, I’m the fool. Instead of spending time criticizing good-old gregarious Goff for being redundant, I should do some more reading and dictionary-flipping. Sorry, Goff.
*Goff: not his real name. I will be deleting this post soon as Chloe has disclosed her contact information to Goff. And he may be reading our blog as I type. This. W-o-r-d. Hi, Goff.