1. Trying to be “friends” with an ex.
No one wants to be friends with their ex. At least, not for a very, very long time post-breakup. Even if you have one of those organic, beautiful, “we both had to follow our own adventure”-esque breakups that belong in an Anthropologie catalog, you still need that time to sew up your emotional wounds and not have it all up in your face when they are boning love to someone new. There are few things more brutal than announcing, as the two of you part ways, that you “want to do your best to stay friends,” and then actually have to go out for coffee with this person two weeks later as though they weren’t so recently inside of your vagina/heart. God forbid they should actually start talking to you — as they would to a friend about their new love life. Then you might as well just bite down on a cyanide capsule and end it all right at the restaurant.
2. Agreeing to an early weekend commitment.
There is that very specific feeling, when your alarm goes off at Way Too Early O’Clock and you have a laundry list of things you agreed to do on what was supposed to be your day off, where you start going down said list one by one and rationalizing away every last thing you have to do. Do you really need to go to that brunch? Do you have to help your best friend move? Is it absolutely necessary to be there for the birth of your first nephew? And then you indulge yourself in the emotional Nutella that is canceling on people last minute so that you can go back to sleep for another few hours, only to hate yourself when you finally get up and face the damage of what you bailed on.
3. Going to a party that you know you’re not going to enjoy.
For some reason, we have come to believe as a society that it is better to agree to go to a social function for the sake of showing up than it is to politely decline and spare everyone the agony of watching you have the worst two hours of your life in the corner. And while, if it’s a big event like a birthday or a congratulatory celebration, it’s always best to wish someone well in person, no one wants to have to deal with that guy. You know that guy — sitting by himself, glaring at everyone like they farted at him and then walked away, checking his phone every 15 seconds even though he knows that no one is going to text him. Don’t be that guy. Just say no to the party from the get-go.
4. Asking if you can help when you know you can’t.
There should be some serious laws about offering up the phrase “Let me know if I can do anything to help.” That shit should mean something, and not just “I want to look like a good person, but have no intentions of actually following up on this.” Because nothing looks worse than extending that spiritual hand of imaginary help, only to abruptly turn it into a middle finger when someone actually reaches out and says something like, “Yeah, if you could help me pack my boxes before the big moving day, that would be totally awesome.” It crushes the human spirit to realize that people don’t actually want to help you, so it’s best to just never give the illusion of it in the first place. Just say what you really mean from the get-go.
5. Trying to set two people up.
There are only two outcomes to this scenario:
1. They end up happily ever after, and gaze at you admiringly from their table at the wedding reception while holding up a glass of champagne and toasting you for all of your life-changing matchmaker efforts. Everyone at the reception turns to you, champagne glass in hand, and wonders why there aren’t more people like you in life — so selfless, so forward-thinking, so compassionate, so savvy at putting people together. And then you have sex with someone’s underwear-model cousin who happened to come to that wedding as God’s reward for your hard work.
2. They break up at some point, and then both end up resenting you to a certain degree.
(Hint: It is never scenario 1.)
6. Starting an argument that you have no intention of finishing.
Sometimes you just wanna yell at someone. You just want to say that pissy thing you’ve been holding in for a while, and let them know how you feel, and really get your negative energy off your chest. But it’s so unfair to just drop a pass-agro bomb into someone’s lap and then head off to do your nails or wash the dishes or whatever else you had planned that day. If you’re going to toss out accusations, or cutting remarks, or implications, you’d better be prepared to ride that Tedious Train all the way into Silent Treatment Station, because arguments don’t just happen in a vacuum.
7. Telling someone a secret that you know they can’t keep.
Is there anything worse than the feeling of being really excited and/or heated about something, going through your phone book to find the first person who will pick up so you can spill the beans to them, and then immediately realizing you should not have told this person? Because what are you supposed to do? Be like, “Hey, not that I think you’re an enormous tattle-tale or anything, but can we arrange some sort of gag order in this conversation because I kind of think you’re going to immediately hang up and tell everyone that you shouldn’t.”? Nothing is worse than that scenario. I mean, I suppose Theon Greyjoy’s tribulations in the third season of Game of Thrones were probably more painful, but barely. Barely.