1. A date with someone you know you’re not that interested in.
Sometimes you just want to go on a date. You just want to have someone to pay attention to you, to touch your shoulder, to laugh at your stupid jokes, and possibly pay for some food. It’s an understandable desire, and a great ego boost. But it’s really not fair. If you’re going out with someone simply to pass the time/eat for free, you are being a terrible person. You are using their time and money to feel slightly better about yourself with no intent of actually following up with them. They are getting their hopes up for nothing. And, as is often the case with First Date feat That Person You Don’t Really Like, the conversation runs a high chance of being awkward and stilted. It’s just not a good time.
2. Being a third wheel for a brand-new couple.
Sometimes, when a couple is more established, they manage to fine-tune the art of “being in love with one another without being insufferable tools to everyone else around them.” New couples are not quite there yet. They are too busy planting butterfly kisses on one another’s cheeks (both facial and otherwise) to pay attention to anyone else who may be feeling really awkward while out with them. If they’ve been together for just a few precious, twee months, just don’t go to the movies with them.
3. Going to parties with people who aren’t nice to you.
Sometimes we get that horrible, self-destructive itch to go hang out with people who are way cooler than us. They dress better, they have cooler phones, they always seem to get invited to every cocktail hour ever held in an art gallery. They’re just better. And it’s only natural, when you are invited to one of their events by some incredible cosmic mix-up, to feel like you just have to go. But you don’t. Because the second you get there, a huge wave of understanding will wash over you, reminding you that — despite your temporary admission to their club — you are not like them. They are generally not going to be super nice, and you’re going to leave feeling worse about yourself. We are not the cool people, and we just have to accept it. It’s cooler hanging out with the uggos anyway, they always order pizza.
4. Eating at a restaurant you can’t afford.
You know what feeling is just the greatest? When you go into a restaurant and look at the menu, immediately overwhelmed with a feeling of “Oh fuck, oh fuck, maybe I’ll just get some water and some napkins.” Like, when you’re stuck between ordering anything more than an appetizer and being able to pay the rent this month, it will ruin even the most convivial dining atmosphere. You basically just feel terribly about yourself, and are humiliated for existing, and just want to crawl into a hole where nothing more expensive than a McRib will ever be presented to you again.
5. Going to a club when you’re not in a specifically ‘clubby’ mood.
The conditions under which you are going to fully enjoy your trip to a club are extremely precise, and cannot be substituted. Unless you are starting the night swigging some Smirnoff from the bottle and announcing how you are just trying to get “white girl wasted” and “grind on some randos,” there is no way you’re going to have a good time. If you start off lukewarm about the whole endeavor, you are guaranteed to end up in the corner within the first two hours, shaking your head while glaring at assholes in popped collars and complaining about how expensive your drink was. Guaranteed.
6. Work-related outings when you don’t like your coworkers.
While there are always going to be certain work events that are necessary to attend for your career, there is no reason to feel obligated to join the social whirlpool that is “colleagues becoming default friends.” If you don’t think they’re cool, don’t be browbeaten into attending happy hours after work every other day just because everyone else is. Make an appearance every now and again, but don’t torture yourself with their company for extended periods of time just to seem like a trooper. You’re not a trooper, and you don’t want to talk about how much of an asshole your boss is on your own time. It’s no big deal, really.
7. Anywhere the ex will be immediately post-breakup.
You’re going to either intentionally run into them because you love rubbing salt in your own wounds, or you’re going to see them unexpectedly from across the party and immediately regret not keeping a cyanide capsule between your cheek and gums in case of emergency. Nothing good will come from it, and you’re only going to end up wailing incoherently into your best friend’s shoulder while you repeat “But they’re not even that cute,” and dribbling snot all over their cardigan.