The Four Levels of Social Entrapment

One of the most difficult aspects of interacting with other people is figuring out how to extricate yourself from a conversation without appearing rude or mentally unstable. You aren't allowed to just walk away - you need to have a reason to stop talking. And the reason can't be that you want to stop talking. You need to find a way to end the conversation without making it seem like you want the conversation to end.

This unspoken set of rules can turn an otherwise rational person into a flailing, helpless victim in a sea of self-perpetuated social anxiety.

It's like we're all competing in a game that no one wants to play.  And even though you can't ever win the game, you can prevent yourself from losing by pretending that you like playing long enough to be allowed to stop playing.


The game has four levels of difficulty.   
  
Level 1: Brief encounters with kind-of friends

There is a special kind of awkwardness between two people who don't know each other well enough to interact effectively, but are familiar enough that ignoring each other's presence isn't really an option.  No matter how much you like the person, you dread encountering them because you only know two things about each other and once you've covered those two things, there is nothing else and that is terrifying because you aren't good at ending conversations and that makes the horrible, strained silence all but inevitable.

But eventually you do run into one of these acquaintances and even though you both sense the impending awkwardness and desperately wish to avoid it, you have a social obligation to say hello. So you do, and the conversation derails even more quickly than you expected.


And then there you are, standing clumsily in the parking lot of Best Buy, frantically trying to keep the conversation afloat until one of you can think of a decently acceptable way to end the encounter. You stop caring about whether you make sense or not.  You'll say anything to avoid silence.  


At some point, the rapidly deteriorating subject material forces you to give up on being polite and just settle for the first bumbling phrase that comes out of you.  


Luckily, your artless delivery doesn't matter. The other person is just thankful that they finally have an excuse to stop talking to you.  

Level 2: Forced proximity 

 Trying to end a conversation in the grocery store is like battling a sea monster that has an infinite capacity to revive itself.  


As soon as you figure out how to disengage with the person, you run into them again and you have to figure out how to start a new conversation. And then you also have to figure out how to end that conversation.  No matter how many times you come across each other, it never really seems acceptable to not say anything.


You try to joke about it.  


Soon, however, you will exhaust your supply of pleasantries and lighthearted banter. 


The awkwardness of each new encounter is magnified by the awkwardness of the previous encounter until you have no choice but to pretend that you are so fascinated by the ingredients of what you're buying that you don't even notice the other person is there.  


Level 3: The Trap

However, some acquaintances don't share your desire to avoid awkward encounters. In fact, they often seek your company despite your complete inability to relate to each other. This person is seemingly immune to awkwardness and once they latch onto you, you are not allowed to leave until they are done with you.  


For example, you might be sitting by yourself in a café, enjoying a cup of coffee.  And then you see her squinting up at the drink menu.  


She's trapped you at social gatherings a few times,  backing you into a corner and then standing at just the right angle so that you'd have to physically push her out of your path to escape.  She's extremely passionate about a variety of things that you have no real interest in, like veganism and the healing properties of soy.  She can talk about these things for hours without pause.  While you don't mind that she feels that way, you don't particularly want to hear about it in such great detail.  But she tells you anyway.  Over and over and over.  You might make a feeble attempt at steering the conversation to a topic of more mutual interest, but she doesn't want to talk about what you want to talk about.

The first time you escaped her conversational death-grip, you thought that she had probably said all she needed to say and that the next time you saw her, you could maybe talk about something else.  But no.  She checks up on you.  She wants to know if you've tried any of the things she suggested.  When you tell her that you "haven't gotten around to it yet," the cycle starts over again.  

You want to avoid this kind of interaction, so you turn your chair away, hoping that she won't see you when she turns around.   


But it's too late.  She's spotted you. 


She's not quite sure if it's you yet, but you can feel her eyes focusing on you.  You risk a glance to see if she's still there, even though you know that she is.  


And then you accidentally lock eyes with her.


Once eye contact is established, she begins to lurch toward you in slow motion, like a zombie in a bad horror movie.  You are consumed by a desire to bolt, but you don't.  Your obligation to adhere to social decencies outweighs your sense of self-preservation. You stay right where you are, unable to look away.  


You are going to have to talk about soybeans.  A lot.  And you are going to have to pretend that you like it.  To protect your dignity.    


Level 4: Well-intentioned social terrorism

The well-intentioned social terrorist does not alert you before they invade your safety bubble.  It's always a surprise.  You'll come home, exhausted and eager to finally feel safe from unwanted interaction. 



But then... 


You're cornered like an animal. There's nowhere to go.


You'd always assumed that your own home was a safe place - a place where you were not in danger of sudden, undesired social interaction.  But your pathetic delusions of safety implode into the realization that nowhere is safe anymore.  


You could tell them no, but you aren't busy and you don't have any immediate plans, so you don't really have an acceptable reason to decline their company.  

   

You could try to lie and say that you're just coming home to drop some stuff off before you have go somewhere.  But if you do that, you'll have to spend the rest of the night in total darkness, because if your friend walks by and notices that your lights are on, they're going to know you were lying.

 

But if you allow this person into your house, you are no longer in control of when the interaction ends.  This is not as simple as finding the right opportunity to walk away.  No.  This is some next-level shit.  You can't just walk out of your own house and leave the person there.  Where would you go?  

If you want to be left alone, you're going to have to wait it out until you can convince the other person to leave.



But even then, it isn't over.  

Now that you are aware that your home is not the impenetrable fortress of protection you once thought it was, you are forced to live in a constant state of slight uneasiness. Someone could surprise you at any time.  What if your friend decides to surprise you with a visit every day?  Now you have to worry about keeping your place picked up, "just in case."  You're scared to play music or watch movies because then you can't pretend to not be home if someone knocks on your door.  

You are no longer in control of your life.  



745 comments:

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bard said...

I just go for "mentally unstable". It keeps 'em from coming back, too.

Oh, and you're hilarious. Will you marry me?

Anonymous said...

You need to write about being trapped while you are working and thus even less able to be rude and they know you don't have anything to do because you are standing behind a counter and there are no real customers...SO AWKWARD. So awkward in fact, that my co-workers and I have a secret signal so that if one of us is trapped, the other goes to the far side of the store and calls the counter phone to rescue us. You need a super-secret signal, clearly.

Rebeccagrace said...

Yay, a new post! Brilliant as usual, Allie. Everything you wrote is SO true.

areyoukiddingme said...

Clearly you must learn to deflect the third person - the trap - by vehemently (but reasonably) disagreeing with everything she says. If she says vegan is best, say you feel uncomfortable interrupting photosynthesis. If she goes off on the wonders of soy, mention that you've heard that it produces estrogen-like hormones in the body and doctors suspect it's causing early puberty in children. Whatever cause she's got, take the opposite view, because all she wants is a captive audience!

But then, I'm mean.

Christopher said...

Hilarious!

The one that happens to me all the time is sort of between 1 and 2, where, after we've finally extricated ourselves from a horrible, endless halting conversation, we both turn to walk off, only to discover that we're both going to be walking in the same direction, and what we thought was the end is only the beginning.

I'm not proud of this, but sometimes I just go off in a random direction and hide until I'm sure the other person is so far ahead that we won't run into each other again.

Also, last year I met this girl at school, and whenever we ended up walking to the same place and having a conversation, I'd try to follow her pace, and she'd try to follow mine, and so we'd just continuously slow down more and more, eventually stopping entirely and depleting our entire supply of small talk as we stood motionless in the hallway, wondering how things went so wrong.

Billy Apathy said...

First of all, this started out like a friendly post about the trials of social interaction, but then suddenly it turned into an introverts creeper horror story! Beautifully done. Second, I'm going to make a guess and say the person talking about the eagle actually happened to you? Please say it did. Please. Cause I died of laughter.

Julie @ Willow Bird Baking said...

Oh my gosh, I seriously struggle with ending conversations on an HOURLY basis! You hit the nail on the head. haha!

Starfish said...

Allie,

you're awesome.

The worst part is when that random person decides that the most awesome night for them to visit is the night before you have to get up super early to move house.

They think it is a fantastic idea to camp out your whole lounge room and, while you know they're totally jealous of your awesome home entertainment system and your ability to watch youtube on your tv, you just want them to go home so you can pass out on the floor.

But instead, they stay until 3am, playing guitar hero, because they are impervious to the not-so-subtle hints at yawning or looking at the clock or telling them directly HOW FREAKING EARLY YOU HAVE TO GET UP THE NEXT DAY!

Anonymous said...

I. LOVE. YOU.
This is dead on, like so me. I'm so socially awkward. Level 2 is my favorite! I always rant about how awkward grocery store encounters are. Bleeee-eeehh.

Anonymous said...

I. LOVE. YOU.
This is dead on, like so me. I'm so socially awkward. Level 2 is my favorite! I always rant about how awkward grocery store encounters are. Bleeee-eeehh.

esphixiet said...

In our household we call your "social terrorism" "The Drop By". The best solution to the drop by (if you're not caught at the door) is to a) not answer the door b) when the person asks why you didn't answer the door when your car was in the drive/your lights were on/they could hear music/talking in the house, you simply say, "oh, we must have been fucking". :D

Anonymous said...

I love that you also have a deep desire at the end of the day to go home and sit alone in your own house...

http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/index.jsp?cid=206441

leendadll said...

#4 became such a problem for me that I disconnected my doorbell. Then, after playing dead during 30 min bouts of door & window knocking, I added a "DO NOT DISTURB" sign to the front door. It's worked like a charm! Only 1 person has dared to disturb me in 6+ months and I yelled at them so loudly that they'll never return.

Emily said...

You are a mind reader. Awesome as usual!!!

Cortie said...

... why are you writing about my LIFE?!

STOP FOLLOWING ME!!!!!!

But really don't because you're blog is like the funniest thing on the whole internet.

Anonymous said...

i adore you.

the witch's bwew said...

Omg this is the story of my life! But I'm so happy to find out that I'm not the only person who dreads these awkward social interactions! I always just assumed that everyone else ENJOYS all the small talk and banter and accidentally-bumping-into-each-other-over-and-over-again-at-the-grocery-store conversations.

One adaptation I've found useful is to wear headphones while out in public, even when they're not plugged into anything. You can just tuck the plug end into your pocket so it looks like you're listening to music, and then when someone you want to avoid calls out to you, you just pretend you didn't hear, and make sure they see you adjusting the headphones so they know you're not ignoring them. Then you quickly walk in another direction or cross a street, as if you're in a hurry somewhere. Sunglasses can help, too; nothing will sink an evasion attempt like accidental eye contact.

Also, thanks for reminding me why I don't invite many people to my house. That last scenario was so terrifying.

Cheryl said...

I...runaway from all these people...

lacrema said...

Oh, God, I was just talking to someone about the people who randomly stop by your house and knock on your door and send you into a blind panic. I want to tell them, "If I had wanted you to come over right now I would have invited you. Since I did not, and you are inviting yourself, I am declining the invitation to answer the door."

I usually just hide until they go away. The key is to turn off your phone ringer and avoid windows until they leave. If your car was parked in front of your place, just tell them you went out for a walk.

Alison said...

I think this is an excellent way of getting out of these types of conversations (well at least the first type): http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=1425

Anna W said...

Similar to the home invader, I have a lady that invades my cubicle space to show me pictures of flat grassy plains she saw while vacationing in Kansas street signs in Baltimore. I'm always busy so I can't just get up and leave. I've tried headphones and that works sometimes.

PeppermintTaste said...

The hapless characters from Level 1 PERFECTLY capture my feelings about small-talk. The expressions on their poor little faces, the desperation of "I once ordered a pizza"... it's all SO FUCKING TRUE.

I would rather staple my face to the wall than talk about the weather.

Varthalon said...

Another great post! I'm personally afflicted with a nasty version of level 1 - The dreaded "They know me but I can't remember who they are" encounter were you are desperately trying to NOT reveal your total ignorance to whoever this person is that obviously knows you.

I also hate it when you really have to be somewhere FAST (like having just remembered you left the baby in the car in the parking lot or your bladder feels like it is about to rupture) and WHAM - sucked into a conversation.

loopy said...

I'am just SO grateful you posted again. ^^

Fred Miller said...

After working in a grocery, I know how much work goes in to stocking the shelves. It is a team effort that takes constant care. I am wholly impressed by your effort to draw the whole damn aisle for effect. You are truly a marvel.

This took tons of work. Thank you.

The Fred Effect

Cervus said...

You forgot about the person who backs you into a corner (and/or holds your arm) so you literally have nowhere to run to escape their one-sided conversation and halitosis.

S.S. Bigglelog said...

Oh my god. I THOUGHT I WAS THE ONLY ONE!!!

Corey said...

Some day, a brilliant social psychologist will figure out how to make pathological talkers shut up. That will be a world of bliss.

Caratunk Girl said...

I am a victim of well-intentioned social terrorism!!! You NAILED it. If it wasn't my life, that shit would be funny as hell.

Anonymous said...

I feel very pathetic now, but I do, in fact Jump up like a retarded monkey on ecstacy when I unexpectantly hear my doorbell ring, to shut off every source of light and sound and then proceed to pretend I'm dead in the bathroom. It's quite helpful that I live in an appartment, not a house, so unwanted visitors stand outside, not in front of my 3rd story door. Which means I don't actually have to fall out of my loft bed head first, but panic takes over every single time. Entrapment isn't my main problem though... My apartment is rarely ever presentable. And by that I mean, there's no room to step on the floor.

Frog said...

That made me laugh right out loud because I am that person cornered by other people. Thanks for making my evening.

eleanor said...

yep,as for me I'm not a social freak myself but somehow there are days when I'm not "in the mood" for that small talk whatsoever so I really hate those kind of encounters..so yeah,definitely can relate with those situations! Great job,Ellie! :)

lalalalauren said...

Haha! I love this.
And I've totally been in all four of those scenarios.

walterh said...

i just came across your blog two days ago (so late in the gameee)... i was compelled-forced to skip my first fall semester classes so that i could finish reading all your posts!!

awesome, awesome. awesome awesome awesome.

thomsirveaux said...

I never tire of saying - though I've never posted it here before, but trust me, I say it all the time - mostly in my head, but sometimes out loud - oh yes, I *do* sometimes say out loud - and I may even say it here in the future an as-yet-undetermined number of times... BEST. POST. YET.

Neil Decurio said...

Don't be afraid to play a movie or music if you don't want to answer the door. You could've fallen asleep, you had to go out in a rush and forgot to turn off your music/television set - or you have some new alarm function on your radio/TV that turns it on at a certain time and you must've gotten it wrong :S

Abigail said...

I NEED a t-shirt with the "I'd love to hang out with you but I have to go sit in my house by myself" drawing on it. That is the story of my life.

a400m_runner said...

Wow Allie your comic made me laugh out loud! I love it!!

Fatkid said...

You forgot the worst one, that persistant guy who WILL find a way to talk to you, where once you think you're safe, he pops up in your living room.

Sarah said...

I HAVE THE FOURTH ONE!!!! Several, actually. My husband doesn't understand why I want to move, but you TOTALLY would.

Erika said...

My boyfriend is a terribly social person, and once at the grocery store, we continued to run into the same nondescript middle aged man aisle after aisle. Boyfriend soon made some sociable joke to middle aged man, and we continued on. Two aisles later, middle aged man makes little joke. Next aisle, Boyfriend makes joke. This continues on until we leave the store, and then we started seeing middle aged man at the grocery EVERY TIME! And Boyfriend, being the social gentleman that he is, continues to make jokes with middle aged man, because Boyfriend thinks man is "sorta cute." The problem now is when I go to the grocery without Boyfriend, middle aged man makes jokes at me, and I am forced to smile/grimace and run away.

Anonymous said...

I tend to get SUPER pissed if someone is like "OH I LL JUST COME OVER" and just invites themselves. Thats totally extending your bounds, and only works if you're a really close friend *even then, be considerate and ask!*

So, i think the furious look on my face in this situation sends people packing.

Ajahli said...

THIS IS TOTALLY MY LIFE.

I'm new to reading your blog and holy crap I showed my mom the fish one and she was laughing so hard she was crying ahahaha.

BUT YEAH SO LIKE. I'M TOTALLY GLAD I'M NOT ALONE WITH SOCIAL AWKWARDNESS

Cause like...the weather and stuff... yeeeeah

Jennifer said...

Why do so many people delete their comments?

Anonymous said...

See this is what makes Chicago great. Not only does the massive population density make it rare to bump into people like this, but it's a busy place where curt does not equal rude per se, because everyone has 28 hours of stuff to do and only 24 hours to do it in. Here, it's perfectly acceptable to end a conversation with something like "well I got stuff to do, see ya." or "I'd invite you in but I'm way too busy for company." - and nobody ever questions it, because they're just as busy.

If you have a conversation with random people it's usually quick and to the point, and if you bump into someone at, say the store, it's perfectly normal to ignore them thereafter while you get about your business, or maybe just acknowledge them with a nod or "hey again" and then ignore them.

None of that small town folksey BS here. Ahh.

Anonymous said...

ok, the part with the close up on the lady's face, fucking kills me. My friends and I reference Hyperbole and a Half more than family guy now, which is a pretty big deal ha!

Alyson&Nick said...

Holy balls, it's like you KNOW me. Why can't social awkwardness be a recognized disability? We could have special parking spaces behind grocery stores so we could sneak in and out undetected, mangy and unfortunate looking guide dogs to ward of passersby... In a perfect world I suppose.

Josie said...

I think the internet just ate my post, but I hide in the dark too to avoid people who stop by.

Love your blog!

Quix said...

OMG I hate the home thing. My house is my place for pajamas, my couch, my laptop, and my tv. Not random people to pop over. I think I'd have to start coming to the door in weird shit like a chicken costume with a toilet plunger and be like, "wut?" Hehe. Love it. As always.

Batsheva said...

At the risk of being derivative, or plagiaristic even, I feel I nonetheless must confirm the 240+ other comments and tell you that you are an amazingly gifted artist, writer, observer of life, and simply a genius.

strikematch said...

A+

Kalytron said...

I refuse to answer the door if I am at home by myself because I fear the interaction. I just want them to go away. At times I've even ignored the door when my car was clearly visible outside, and ducked under windows. I am happy that I am not alone.

thenewBMW said...

I find a few things helpful. I steal a note from the 'awkward situation survival guide' and during a moment of silence, let out a loud noise. Example:

Annoying stranger: "And that's why I can't eat tacos!"

*terse moment of silence*

Me: "BOP!"

it's also helpful to say something completely inappropriate, like "Oooh, that prune smoothie is catching up." or "I'd love to chat, but I'm late for my appointment with the proctologist."

If all else fails, Lie. Lie wildly and extravagantly, and then later write it off as "I just have a twisted sense of humor! I actually had to (insert mundane task)" I find the best lies are usually the ones that are implausable.

"Sweety, I have to dash, if I don't get the money to the dropoff point by one O clock, they're gonna kill another nun."

or

"God, it's been a long day. I just want to go home and get out of these depends."

This usually ends undesired social interaction. :)

if that fails

Jon said...

I have a simple solution to home visitors situation: Keep a pack of large noisy dogs in the house at all times. Dogs that like to rush the door if anyone walks up. They should be friendly, of course, but pushy. Enough so that you can't open the door more than an inch without them escaping. People rarely will try to enter when faced with that. I've found that many will flee before you even reach the door to see who it was.

And for the grocery store run-ins: after the initial meeting, wait for them to reach the end of the aisle and turn to the next, and then follow behind them at a discreet distance. You can't keep unexpectedly running into them if you keep track of exactly where they are.

Even One Sparrow said...

BRILLIANT.

Must. Share. On. Facebook. NOW.

alyssag721 said...

Love it!

Just last month I was stuck between level 2 and 3 when some guy at the produce section decided to follow me telling me about the history and competitive pricing of every item I picked up. I finally shamelessly booked it when he turned to reach for a zucchini.

I had to hide behind the frozen meat just to avoid running into him again. Pretty sure the normal people thought I was nuts.

Anthony H said...

Okay, so this just made my day, which wasn't all that great. I love your blog, and I read every post the day it's posted. They are hilarious, and I usually find myself laughing loud enough to elicit strange looks from people around me. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Allie - I've never commented before, but I love reading your blog and this is one of my favorite entries yet. I think these are the best illustrations you've ever done, all packed into one post; I love the expressions!

I don't understand why, when people accost you and in a sense demand that you entertain them with conversation, it's suddenly YOUR obligation to sustain the awkward pleasantries. Or maybe it's just me who feels guilty when I run out of things to say. Anyway, I get trapped into a lot of awkward conversations at work (in a cafe), and since it's either stay at the counter and suffer mentally or run into the espresso machine and get physically burned, there's no escape. People even follow me into the back room (which they are technically not allowed to do) to finish whatever rambling train of thought they've got going. Sheesh.

Erin said...

There's this guy, Ryan, i tried to "help" in high school. He ended up living with my boyriend for a year.
Long story short, I thought I saw him at BestBuy last month. I was walking towards a store associate and as the poor guy was asking me if I needed help, Ryan walked around the corner. I said "Oh Shit!" and turned and ran all the way to the front of the store. As I was running I heard another store associate say "Shit man, I think you scared her."

It wasn't him after all, but damned if I was sticking around long enough to get dragged into a conversation about pedophilia and lesbian vampires.

Anonymous said...

You are too funny!!
If you were a gay man I would completely find you, convince you to love me and marry you!!

Love your work.

Nikolle said...

So true... especially the grocery store in a small town. Not only will you encounter the person multiple times today, but also next week, and the week after that......

My favorite "parking lot" conversation closer is the fictious (or not) errand/appointment that you have to run :)

Stacy said...

I have thought about ALL this at one point of another. It never would have occured to me to put it all together in a blog with awesome graphics. Five super stars.

MyOhMichael said...

I absolutely love this post. The only thing I wish you had included [but I trust you didn't because you are knowlegable (so much, in fact you can probably even spell that correctly) in ways of awesome that I am not... or something like that?] is the workplace banter. You would THINK that "well I should get back to work" is enough to get you out. BUT. You'd be wrong.
Unfortunately I am finding at my new job that people come talk to me while I am working. Problem is I don't know anything about these people. And don't care too. And I'd like to be undisturbed. But because I stupidly have established that I CAN work while talking.. I have no out! Because "You should really go do something productive" isn't polite to say. And I kinda need to keep my job.
*sigh* the battle is never truly won.
I'm going to go lock myself in a dark room for awhile now and hope no one "drops by"

Anonymous said...

I had a grocery store one the other day where I really like her, and I think she really likes me, but I could tell both of us really did just want to get our shopping done and get out of there, but STILL we had to do the polite chit-chat three times. Dreadful.

However, there was another time when the friend I'd run into at Costco pointed at a bottle of laundry detergent and said, "Have you used this kind? Do you like it?" I said, "Well, I have a front-loading washer and I can only use the high-efficiency kind." She looked, and said, "This one is high-efficiency." "Oh," I said. "Well, I also have to get the kind that's fragrance-free, since my kids all have really sensitive skin." She looked again. "This is fragrance-free." Me: "Really? Oh. Well, then it's perfect for me. Thanks for pointing it out to me."

I don't think she bought any, but I'm still using that brand.

One other thing--in all seriousness, I think you should read the book called "The Gift of Fear" (link). It should persuade you never, ever to let anyone into your house when you don't want to, even if you don't seemingly have any good reason and can't come up with a polite excuse. Boundaries, baby! I'm working on defending my space better, and it feels great to successfully deflect an impolite overture AND not feel guilty over it.

That said, I do still sometimes cower inside my own house.

Linda McIver said...

Painfully true, and beautifully put! Thanks. :)

JJ said...

Thank you so much for documenting this. These situations happen to me almost daily. I was starting to think I was the only one...

Nicole said...

The grocery store thing used to happen to me all the time. I grew up in a town with three grocery stores that everyone shopped at instead of having to drive 15 minutes to another town.

And EVERYONE was at Fred Meyer. Friends, teachers, people I hoped to never see again, much less talk to.

Sigh...I know I'm not the only one, but this blog pretty much is the story of my life.

Nidonemo said...

DIGNITY IS OVERRATED!
Release yourselves from social bondage! Embrace insanity! Reject normality!

Anna said...

This easily describes 90% of my social interactions...

Kali said...

It's so true.

Anonymous said...

Meat is good. I agree! I'm the queen of ending conversations at work... anyone can email me for free lessons.

AGTMADCAT said...

I was beginning to fear that the meth orcs had gotten you or something, because since I discovered your blog a couple of days ago (and then read through the entire archive), you hadn't posted anything at all!

I'm glad that your heavy-box based defenses have remained intact. =)

Yira said...

This is where I can thank God for hearing impairment because it can actually get me out of most social situations such as these.

It usually just takes a "I have no idea what you're saying. It's a bad hearing day for me :(" and be completely truthful about this. They're forced into an awkward guilt, but that's not something I can really do anything about.

The only one that doesn't apply is the last one simply because my uncle, who has many mental handicaps, does not understand that there are times we don't want visitors. Sometimes he calls, sometimes he doesn't, and sometimes he waits until dinner so that he can mooch off our food. Hearing impairment means squat because 1.) it's family; and 2.) he and his wife (who has Down Syndrome) doesn't really understand what that means.

Luckily, I have two pawns to distract them (named Mom and Dad) and can hastily hide in another room until the nightmare is over.

DeciduousFruit said...

As much as I will love living alone again soon, this is one bonus to having roommates... unwanted people? Leave them in the living room with roommies and barricade yourself in your room like it was the Zombiepocalypse. Sometimes two wrongs do make a right!

Kiki said...

Many of these scenarios remind me of running into an ex and trying to pretend that everything is ok when it's really not and I don't want them or other people to know I'm still sad and upset. Yup, awkward and feeling just a teeny bit poisoned afterwards. Sigh.

MissMaryFairy said...

This reminds me of a girl I talked to at Bowling League once...She decided we were best friends, and called me up several times a week. While she was on the phone with me, she's sit and watch TV, or sing along with the radio, or argue with her brother, and I could never figure out how to get away politely, and why she couldn't watch TV and sing along with the radio without having me on the phone at the same time. Finally I just stopped answering the phone when she called.

But yeah, as for your blog, the illustrations are amazing. I freaking love your grocery store aisle. It is a work of art. I want to shop there. But only so long as I don't run into any barely-friends there.
Because that's awkward.

Xshu said...

Ack, I love this blog! You may be among the top three funniest writers I've ever read anywhere.

That last one happens to me all the time with relatives. Crazy aunt stops by? Well you'll just have to sit and wait until she's done.

Charlotte Wren said...

Not that you'll ever read this, given that there are almost three /hundred/ comments before mine (holy cats, girl, but that's impressive). But. The last picture, with the blanket? Totally me. I have days where I wish I could take my blanket (which is actually a truly hideous sweater-thing) everywhere with me, just so I could hide behind it...

HeatherM said...

Have I told you lately how AWESOME you are??

Sometimes your entries seem to have this "this is why I'm totally not normal" type of quality, and yet so many people are like "omg that's totally me!!". I think you are more normal then you care to admit. Or maybe people in general are more crazy then they care to admit.

That last one especially hit home with me. We just moved, an apartment, and the person right next door is VERY over-friendly. This is a "special" housing area, so I'm aware that most people here have disorders of some kind, but yeah. It's like everytime you go outside for ANYTHING, if he sees you there is this constant stream of chatter, and it's soooo hard to get away from!

R Mutt said...

Moss's Mum has good advice:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoPbau9EliU

Melodie Anne said...

Ha ha. It's funny because it's true.

People need to wear some sort of double-sided medallion that they can flip to the "it's ok to talk to me" side, or the "don't talk to me" side and everyone will have to abide by the law of the medallion. It's a good idea.

Anonymous said...

This is why I don't go out much.

I work in a public-service position in a medium-sized town. Thanks to my job, I'm at least passingly familiar with 75% of the damn town. Even going to a bar in the next city leads to painful social entrapment.

Screw this, I'm becoming a hermit.

Jamie said...

LOVE IT!!! I just had my orientation today and it was all #1s and #2s for a solid 4 hours.
You make my awkward days into awesome days!!!

Andrea said...

When people invade your space, just tell 'em to sit . . . *flip-a-bird* . . . and spin!

No, seriously. You aren't obligated to humor people ever anywhere at all, but having them cross your boundaries at home is pretty extreme. I know how you feel, though. Nowadays I just say something like "it's been a long day and I don't want company. I want to drink wine by myself and stare at the wall" -- and it's much easier.

Arlene said...

Hmm well you can always pretend you have a major migrain but then they would probably still talk your head off..pms might work lol

Carapace said...

You know, you can always say you're sick. ALWAYS. Make pukeface. Flee for the nearest restroom.

I have to do this a lot, because I actually have major health problems, and even the most persistent social butterfly has never tried to maintain contact in the face of imminent vomit. Also great for hiding in your house!

"Yeah, I can't talk. I'm really sick. Think I'll be throwing up tonight. YOU have a great night, though!"

keeblerkidd said...

Thank you for YET AGAIN finding something I (and apparently many many fine individuals) have never articulated and turning it into a wonderful warm fuzzy telling me that I'm not (quite) as crazy as I thought I was... like that time I hid behind the couch because I seriously did not want to talk to the person at my door. Thank you.

CodyAnne. said...

I expected to see TENSO at the end of #3, LOL!

Can Köklü said...

Gold.. as always..

Please keep writing & drawing..

Miss Anike Maj said...

I've learned to be terse and to the point because I have to try to be nice to people at work and be interested in their problems, so when I'm off work, I don't have the energy for pretending.

My coworkers probably have no clue how rude and mean I am, actually.

Faye said...

I have Asperger's Syndrome, and the entire time I was laughing at this post, part of me was thinking, "THIS. IS. MY. LIFE."

Seriously, I'm pretty sure all of my interactions since kindergarten have been this traumatic.
Can I hide under the blanket with you?

creuter said...

Allie, these pictures had me CRACKING up at 3am by myself. The first glimpse of 'well-intentioned social terrorist' caught me so off guard. Thanks for that.

Anonymous said...

I just have to say BRAVO!My dogs live in the front yard so they bark away any unwanted guests, maybe something to consider? It is a blessing seeing as how I live down the street from a Morman church!

Anonymous said...

I wish you'd talk more about gyro balls. And levitating serial killers with bear fur, swords and metal claws for hands. Like the one in my closet.

lynnielou said...

I sooo get this. I'm on Jury duty at the mo - and there is a lot of forced chat... even though we have a fecking murder to talk about - it always ends up like an uncomfortable chat at the hairdressers. love it as always!

Matt said...

This was excellent. A lot of hilarious drama/suspense in this one. Love it.

Jess Powell said...

oh allie! I experienced the awkwardness of level 1 just yesterday, its like you take my most random thoughts out of my head, mash it up and make something hilarious! love you!

Anonymous said...

I can totally relate to that.

Allison said...

I work as a cashier at a market in the summer so I probably get the whole grocery store thing more often than anybody. I can't even count how many times people come in who somehow know me. They tell me my last name, where I live, ask which daughter I am again, how my brother is doing, and finally get around to saying, "I know your parents, you look just like them!" THAT is the most awkward one cause I never know them. Goes hand in hand with the extremely awkward situation of recognizing somebody but not remembering their name (especially when they remember yours).

Anonymous said...

I like to sit by my elf. He's funny in a quiet way.
O you changed it.

Po said...

This is deeply profound. I have worked with a number of people who fall under category three. The current one is interested in autoclaves and short wave radios. I have not been able to figure out a way of ending an hour long soliloquy on autoclaves. I think the terror slowly creeping into my face may help a bit.

Anonymous said...

That was the highpoint of my day. Please stay hilarious :)

Betsy said...

You make me laugh so much. Serious talent here. I'm now a follower. You really get those nuances about what it really is about.
The expressions, the eyes, everything. You know you're talented when people like me start telling everyone I know to look at your shit.
Brilliant!

Jules: said...

LOL, and I thought this was just me!

FulminationsWithoutFoundations said...

Those damn Social Terrorists!!

Brilliant, as usual. :)

Anonymous said...

Allie. You know, this was only a cheap patchwork quilt of a few of your other articles. And then to change your layout to remove your posting dates to hide how little you post was just cowardice. Your drawing style has changed, to show even less detail and skill (if possible) *and no, i dont want to hear "she only does this because its funny, and if you dont like it then leave nooob" its a cop out.* As someone who has read each and every one of your articles (and the hidden blog) your work (hobby at best) is getting less and less funny over time. You yourself have shown that you do absolutely nothing, hardly ever bathe, don't go grocery shopping, and you only post maybe once in 1 and a half months? thats pathetic. I de-bookmarked you. I know i'm only one person and i don't hope to lead others my way, but i really advise that you pay attention to this criticism, or others will follow. And i'm anonymous because i dont have a google account, in case you were wondering, i'm sure your sheeple will.

jacobian said...

haha...this is just so funny I think. :-)

Anonymous said...

Allie, I think this is one of my absolute favourite posts of yours. The sheer variety and type of expressions in the illustrations are HILARIOUS. I had to read the last round of level one four or five times to truly feel like I'd gotten the full effect, and I laughed every single time.

Liz Hill said...

Preach on sistah, preach on!

Anonymous said...

At the great risk of sounding completely and utterly pathetic - I needed this tonight.

I came here to see if you had updated, feeling extremely shitty about myself, and laughed. Specifically, at the awkward grocery encounter scenes. They made me smile and laugh and I needed that.

So thank you.

Helena said...

i fear my housephone for this reason :(

Carly said...

That grocery store one happens to me far too many times, and always with my grandma's neighbours who actually delight in the conversation and don't feel awkward about it at all. Why yes, please tell me a new story about your grandkids or your gout in every aisle! My ice-cream and my brain aren't melting at all!

Love your blog posts. I always avoid drinking anything when I read them in case of a snort-laugh attack, which is just as pretty as it sounds.

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to avoid one of these horrific social interactions right now by staring at my phone with a level of consentration that I know I'm not actually capable of lol! Go away unwanted half-stranger! Go awaaay! X

Soldaran said...

That's such an American problem. Good thing I come from a nation of rude assholes where you can just go "I'm busy right now, bye" if you don't feel like talking, heh.

pinkpeonygirl said...

So much truth and such charming comics, I just <3 it. A new addiction has arisen, now I will stalk your website looking for More More More ... ;-)

Danita @ Finding My Spark said...

OMG my aunt is the QUEEN of ending social entrapment. When she's done with you, even if you aren't done with her, her exit involves the following:

You: So yesterday at work there was this dipshit that...

Aunt: BYE!

You: *slackjaw WTF*

Probaton said...

Couldn't help but notice 1, 2 and 4 were 'they' and 'them' and 3 was 'she' and 'her' :).

Not that I'm disagreeing with the assessment that all vegan soy-lovers are female but thought it was funny to see the opinion transcends gender boundaries.

Love the show, keep posting.

SquirreliaQueenOfTheWoods said...

I find that I can quite easily get rid of my friends by mentioning a particularly bizarre sex act I need to "get back to".

My friends get the hint, laugh and leave.

My "acquaintances" tend to rush off and quit bugging me...forever

But then there are the occasional ones who just stand and grin with their hand in their pocket...

:-S

Wicked Witch of the West said...

This is my favourite one ever!!! I so relate, and you expressed every feeling so perfectly! Best thing about having kids is perhaps the great excuse that they provide to extract yourself from these situations (even if they aren't there, no one could possibly question your assertion that you need to go pick them up :D)

Holly said...

In college my roommate and I once tried to hide from someone by lying on the floor of our room when she came by. But she went out on the porch and looked in our windows and saw us. :(

Deanne said...

You forgot the bus seat social rapist who you kinda-half-don't-really know who gets on a few stops after you, sees you, sits next to you, and keeps trying to fill the air with pointless talk as your destination seems to be stretching impossibly further and further away.
Sometimes even headphones don't work. They continue to talk to you until you take them out and are forced to talk back to them.
Every time there is an acceptible gap in conversation the head phones creep up, but then they start talking again.
I found a way to combat this person. Offer them a headphone - if they take it the conversation is driven towards your music, which you obviously like, and if they don't take it, look hurt or offended, stick it in your own ear, turn up the volume and stare solemnly out the window. It really works.

Deanne said...

You forgot the bus seat social rapist who you kinda-half-don't-really know who gets on a few stops after you, sees you, sits next to you, and keeps trying to fill the air with pointless talk as your destination seems to be stretching impossibly further and further away.
Sometimes even headphones don't work. They continue to talk to you until you take them out and are forced to talk back to them.
Every time there is an acceptible gap in conversation the head phones creep up, but then they start talking again.
I found a way to combat this person. Offer them a headphone - if they take it the conversation is driven towards your music, which you obviously like, and if they don't take it, look hurt or offended, stick it in your own ear, turn up the volume and stare solemnly out the window. It really works.

Just Lie Still said...

The awkward grocery store encounter made my day.

Keep writing, you have a gift. :)

cheap tires for sale said...

this is like every day at work. i hide in my cube trying to avoid these conversations.

Yeebok Shu'in said...

Thanks Allie ! Lol ! So true. So funny.

Stephanie said...

OMG, this is an awesome post. I laughed all the way through it.

Now I have to go double-bolt our front door. Just in case. *hides under newest knitting project*

Anonymous said...

You have ruined the security of my home in the funniest way possible.
I love this blog so much.

Stephanie said...

Oops, forgot to ask for follow up emails when more comments appear. Delete this if you like. I'm just scatterbrained.

Teresa Cowley said...

This is too funny. I was laughing out loud!

kyle said...

if everyone understands and agrees with this comment... then really we should't have these problems we should just know both people rather not interact and have a mutual understanding. i say that if anything happens to you that you want to end or don't want to happen that you just do what you want and ignore the social norms and ramifications of your misdoing! thats what ive been doing my whole life it works great!

Anonymous said...

I'm a total a-hole, so when I saw one of my co-workers at the shop today I just said "Hi" and walked away before he could have got a chance to reply.

Jessica Lemmon said...

That grocery thing? Yeah. It's happened. Almost EXACTLY like that. I'm sharing this w/my friends so I can let them know they can just ignore me in the store from here on out.

Tara said...

Get thee to thine destiny! *Snort*

Scar said...

You rock.

I actually quite like it when people drop in, though... but that's because my social life pretty much consists of people coming to see me. ;)

Anonymous said...

But what about the social leech?

You know the person. They came with someone else, they are the friend-of-a-friend.

When Friend says something it's funny, but then leech tries to join in and ends up insulting someone, usually you or someone you like enough to defend.

But then you see leech other times and they're normal, and coherent, and you start to wonder what part of your soul they're sucking on because they ARE so pleasant at that moment.

And then you see them again, with their friend, and they're back to sucking their soul.

You wonder how your friend doesn't notice the thing hanging off of them like some kind of parasite and then you start to question their relationship. You're trying to maintain a straight face as they regale you with stories of crossing the street on the arm of an elderly gentleman when all you can think of is what kind of dynamic their relationship entails that Friend isn't cringing every time Friend-of-a-Friend comes within 50 yards of them.


...

Also, I don't let people in my house who just show up. I'm blatantly rude about it. "You should have called first. You can't come in."

Megan said...

I have probably memorized the list of ingredients on the packages of everything that the grocery store has ever sold. So deep is my desire to avoid social contact.

It's like...you KNOW me. Which is cool. And creepy! :D

flux biota. said...

the best way to get out of any social interaction..."excuse me I have to poop."

Noone is going to stop you. and everone understands how necessary pooping is.

gotta go poop.

Catherine said...

Oh, Allie! You were never in control of your life! =p

Anonymous said...

Silverel- Your social dilemma is self-inflicted. Just RSVP no. They want a count for food, not to harass you. It's rude not to reply at all. "Ignoring" generally is not a good solution.

Danger Boy said...

As always, good stuff.
I have been thought of as rude from time to time because I have a habit of just exiting a conversation when I have nothing left to talk about. The talking is done and I just...

tori aka ggs_closet said...

Level 4: Well-intentioned social terrorism <<< this is why I don;t even answer my door anymore. :)

Anonymous said...

This is brilliant. And so true.

J said...

I love alllllll of your posts, but as an artist, I have to say your perspective in level 2 in the supermarket aisle panel is actually pretty good! :D
PS- May I recommend what we in College call 'the subtle snub'? You just have to keep your head down with headphones on and you can totally ignore people without seeming like an asshole!

Megara24 said...

You totally hit it on the nose. Again. I'm glad to know that other people encounter these social dilemmas...for awhile, I thought it was just because I was a complete failure at social interaction!
Although, because I'm constantly fearful of being "that person" in level 3 and 4, I will actually avoid making contact with acquaintances in public because I don't want to subject them to my particular brand of crazy. I either do this by doing the "quick wave and rush out the door because I'm on my break and I really have to get back!" or I just pretend that I don't see them. That way, any interaction is initiated by THEM.
On another note, sometimes I wonder why I don't have more friends...

Molly said...

This happens at school all the time! there is always that one person you really don't want to talk to and they put you in all of these situations!(you can tell I had a stalker)!

BTW, thanks for making me smile!

ginnybuckner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rewritemyex said...

...you've been spying on me while i grocery shop?

Whitney said...

You could totally create a whole other level for coworker infractions.

I have just one terrifying word for you: ELEVATORS!

Anonymous said...

Can we form a union or something?

I always thought Conan Doyle's invention of the Diogenes Club was brilliant, and I so wanted to join. (It's a club for the unclubbable, where conversation is forbidden). Going to a writer's colony that had silent working hours was as close as I've come so far.

To those who say it gets better with age, the comfort and skill at disengaging from the minor stuff improves, but unfortunately as time goes on the stakes go up. The category 3 and 4s now have their bereavements, family troubles and medical problems to belabor you with. Still haven't figured out how to pull off, 'terribly sorry you were in the ICU, would love to hear all about it, but really must run, bye-ee'.

Anonymous said...

what are the cards/photo's/things on the couch in the eagle illustration in Level #4?

Maria said...

Awesome, as always! I deeply cherish the day I found your blog.

Amy Pronovost said...

I know someone in the #3 category, who croses into #4. it's so awkward D:

Sandra DC said...

hilarious as always, but...

are we ever gonna get another Spaghatta Nadle?

Anonymous said...

I love this one extra hard. *Living in a constant state of slight uneasiness* (Sue McGoo)

Zzoof said...

Im actually moving house in 2 weeks and haven't told my friends where im moving to. Im only moving 10 minutes away but I still dont want any random surprises.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME!

Teisha said...

Hilarious! I thought I was the only socially awkward person but apparently everybody is, because you said so that makes it entirely true, right?
*awkward silence*
*turns around and runs away*

steff said...

Dearest Allie,

You are, no doubt, aware that your awesomeness knows no bounds...
Knowing this, I shall not bore you further by lauding well-deserved praise upon your person.
Instead I shall take this time to say that I was particularly taken with the depth of perspective/shading technique used in the one supermarket aisle drawing. I believe your talent grows with each passing day.
That being said...
I must admit my heart does bleed a little at the thought that your readers are no longer privy to the mundane banality of your "everyday" life stories as you once used to share. Although we understand your rising fame keeps you from sharing so much of yourself with us as in the past, just know that many of us miss the postings of yore. You posing like a velociraptor or babbling innanities about Rick Moranis are mourned daily by myself and, I'm sure, many others.
Please consider installing a motion sensitive robot webcam so we can share in all the commonplace Allie-isms once again.
Or maybe just post another strip-tease video for that bastard Kyle. Hmmm, wonder whatever happened to Kyle...

Yours in absurdity and jest,
Steff

Anonymous said...

I love your take on this! Although, for the first level, I am one of those people that can't sustain small talk long enough to care, so I will just walk away leaving the situation potentially more awkward than when it started.

If you are too polite to do that, there are always certain comments that just end a conversation, thus making it acceptable to leave. *such comments are usually more noticeable when talking online or through a text because whoever you are conversing with will say the phrase, or what have you, and you have no possible way to respond to it. It usually results in a subject change.

Anais said...

nice snuggie on the last frame

Anonymous said...

amazing. your drawings this week were totally worth the extra time you invested!!

Stephanie said...

Oh, I hate elevators!

Anonymous said...

Brilliant!!!!

Eric L said...

" You are going to have to talk about soybeans. A lot. And you are going to have to pretend that you like it. To protect your dignity."

I have no dignity, so this crap never bothers me. I do think its funny you people live in fear of this sort of stuff.

Keep up the good work.

Jayasri said...

you pretty much described most of my social interactions! love it!

Philip said...

That is brilliant as usual. I read everything you post but seldom comment as i think you get so many people that it might end up a bit anonymous. But - I've resolved to give credit where it's due. You always make me laugh, I look forward to your posts popping up. Keep up the extraordinarily good work.

Angie said...

Too funny. Thank God other people feel this way. This happened to me the other day on the bus, but luckily bus encounters are easy, especially if your stop is coming up. You can abruptly end a convo in a socially-acceptable way - "Oh it's my stop, bye!"

ginnybuckner said...

Wow you captured my social anxiety in illustrated form! The close proximenty one is the worst...it's bad enough dealing with acquaintances the first time around...having to keep running into them is excrutiating.

Long time reader, first time poster. Keep doing what you're doing!

Katie said...

What about when this happens at your office? Like when the Chatty Cathy of the office who smells bad and mouth breathes comes by your desk to "chat". And your surrounding coworkers just giggle to themselves in their cubes, not realizing that they are next and will spend the next 30 minutes - after Creepy McCreeperson is done with you - listening to how awesome the last episode of Dog the Bounty Hunter was.

John Kelly said...

Amazing post, the grocery store bit was so hilarious and SO true! I hate these situations and try and wear sunglasses and listen to my ipod in public just to avoid them, because sunglasses+iPod=invisibility!

ellenrawlings said...

I definitely heard old school horror music in my head during the coffee shop scene. Brilliant as always.

Molly Malone said...

Absolutely fantastic! I could put myself in all of those situations... and now I am going to have to go and lie down in a dark room until the shivery feelings have passed...

T said...

Yet again, it as if you have reached into my head and plucked forth the exact crazy I live in...

Can't decide if it is fantastic to prove that I am not the only weird one out there...or scary to know there are so many of us!

T said...

Yet again, it as if you have reached into my head and plucked forth the exact crazy I live in...

Can't decide if it is fantastic to prove that I am not the only weird one out there...or scary to know there are so many of us!

Jason "Memphis" Scott said...

I love that whenever the drawing of you gets on the internet, she looks like she's gleefully playing the piano.

Toni said...

I love it!!

massageon said...

This was an awesome post, as usual!!! I love the pictures you included, hilarious!!

Anonymous said...

I live with #3-- the person who will go on and on and on and on and ON and ON and ON about some topic you care nothing about. And they miss all social clues of your disinterest, eg: the "stare at your shoes," or "generic comments intended to indicate that it's time to change the subject" or even the eyes glazing over. What's worse is watching this person accost my friends when I bring them over. I try to protect my friends, but sometimes I might be talking with someone else or finishing up something in the kitchen and I see my poor friend out of the corner of my eye....

Your post was perfect.

Kizz said...

I recently adopted a dog. He is very social. I am not. As a result I'm having to talk to people (coherently!) before 7am every week day. I love him but dang, this might be a deal breaker.

marit said...

This is funny because it's true. I laughed out loud reading this at work, which made my coworker in the cubicle across from me look at me weird. Which started, of course, an awkward conversation.

Nobody Girl said...

oh, this is frickin hilarious and completely true. the encounters i hate especially so are the ones where I'm walking all alone in the hallway and there's only me and one other person, and it's incredibly awkward, and i never know whether to smile or just look down and keep walking! there should be how-to books on this shit.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear. I did this to someone in my first year of uni. My ride dropped me at the arts school al 7.30am, so I'd wander down to the Halls of Residence to visit my friend. Who probably hated me.

I was very young. Also, I had never had a friend before.

Actually, I don't think I really had one then either.

Stephanie said...

"Communication for Dummies"?

Rainy Day Dreamer said...

Thank you for making me laugh aloud awkwardly in Psychology. Seriously =) You just made me bond with people for our mutual love of your blog.

nocturna said...

Amen to all of this! Your illustrations were absolutely perfect.

Bethany said...

I thought I knew how to deal well with awkward situations until I moved to another country and had to do it in a new language with strange cultural conventions that I didn't understand. the level of awkwardness and social anxiety increased a thousandfold, especially in situation #4...how to get rid of people when you can't even speak the freakin language!!! Why do they even want to be there...we aren't talking about ANYTHING!!!
*sigh* c'est la vie

LittleJonesy said...

Oh my goodness! The last part I totally connect with. I have this friend who I love...really I do...but I avoid ever inviting her over because I know that she will take off her shoes and cuddle up on the couch under the blankets like she is planning to spend forever and ever just sitting there and I am staring at the clock wondering when I will have my alone time because I am a little antisocial.

walshnut said...

This post, and specifically those last two pictures, totally just made my day. Now when I'm stuck in a conversation with The Trap, I will go to my happy place in my head and picture a cartoon guy saying "And then the eagle was like AAAAAWWK! And it swooped down out of the sky!" and I will laugh quietly to myself while paying absolutely no attention to the conversation at hand. Thank you.

S.B. said...

oh god this is brilliant!

I used to deal with a social predator who worked in the office. Hiding in the rest room didn't work. She would wait outside the stall. Talking to her while slowly walking backwards until I could sort of wave and then slink somewhere worked pretty well. Even the boss was scared of her, and used to let us run into her office and close the door and pretend to be having some kind of 'boss' meeting until the woman gave up and found someone else to attack.

Rebecca said...

Thank you for the last image. I suffer from intense social anxiety and seeing that portrait gave me a bit of an epiphany (Read: Aha! Moment). Every time I have a socially induced anxiety attack that leads me to crawl into myself, I'm going to look at that portrait and realize the ridiculousness of cowering in shame, and toss off my blue blanket. I know it likely was not the purpose of your post, but thank you all the same.

Rachel said...

Hahaha...this is one of the perks of living down two miles of dirt road...nobody just "drops in"

genius, as always :)

Anonymous said...

You know I'm lucky enough to have the gift of being able to avoid these situations with lots of stealth and subterfuge. See "speed walk wave away", "looking at phone", "busy distracted brow furrow nod", "being rude" in my published works.

n8rlvr said...

OMG. I know exactly how this feels! Except I am the awkward, well-intentioned social terrorist come to wreak havoc on your incredibly unbalanced mental state. Um, BTW I am coming over tonight… Love ya!

Mari said...

Are you watching me?

Liz said...

Just started reading this blog and you are seriously hilarious.

I've experienced a special kind of social entrapment which is a combo of Levels 1 & 2 -- being trapped in a subway car with a kind-of friend. It's such a small space you HAVE to say hello or you are just rude. But you don't really know the person so after 2 seconds you have nothing to talk about and literally no escape.

The only thing I've come up with is to get off at the next stop even though it's no where near your destination.

Cori said...

This was especially true for me during the summers when I was in school. I had a "friend" who live two blocks from my house and was constantly trying to come hang out with me. I love my free time. I don't have to have someone around constantly. In fact, I enjoy being alone. But she couldn't be stopped.
I would tell her I was spending time with my aunt and wouldn't be home, I would keep the curtains closed, keep the t.v. volume down in case she was listening from the outside, I did everything I could to just enjoy my summer without her.
Come to think of it I can be pretty anti-social sometimes, even as an adult, and I like it.

Anonymous said...

Best. post. ever.

taniamc said...

well, this is by far one of the most hilarious things I have ever read. Those illustrations are fabulous! Just now found your site, and I may never leave. Can someone go pick up my groceries?

lacochran's evil twin said...

Brilliant! And so sadly accurate.

Rena said...

This is me. "How do you end a conversation? How do you get in one without annoying someone to death? Why didn't you tell me I should go away now?!" *cue flailing.*

Loved this post!

Anonymous said...

Please make some movies. Your visual sense is dead-on. I have laughed my ass off so many times reading your column that I had to have Velcro stitched to my hips.

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