As far as small talk repellent goes, ear buds are about as good as it gets. Most (normal) people will see that your ears are occupied and think, “Oh, he’s/she’s listening to something other than my weather chit-chat, so I guess I’ll save my sentiments on these scattered storms for later.
Then, there are the inconsiderate jackasses others. They’ll disregard your unavailability and attempt to start a conversation until you’ve got to remove your headphones in the name of not wanting to be a complete jerk, even if you’re the victim here. Plenty of people take preventative measures by wearing headphones regularly, as if they’re an accessory or fashion statement. Think of it like one of those cause-friendly bracelets or a novelty watch capable of sparing you the grief of silence filler. Unnecessary discussions of the smallest, tiniest, talking-just-for-the-sake-of-sound talk.
2. A vial of emergency stress relief alcohol.
I don’t necessarily do booze dependency, but sometimes booze dependency does me. I’m no advocator of requiring an adult beverage to function, but I’m also not a fan of being sober while Former-person-who-was-important-in-high-school shares detailed accounts of accomplishments that happened years ago, and high social statuses that (SPOILER ALERT) no longer seem to matter anymore. At least let me do a shot of Jack before you painstakingly take me through your glory days.
3. A book.
If there are a bunch of people in a nearby room that you’re hell-bent on avoiding, sometimes you find yourself in a prisoner scenario, stuck within the walls, waiting. When life is temporarily postponed and you don’t know when the person(s) you’re avoiding will depart, holding out is significantly easier when you’ve got some reading material. Or just a phone. Apps and activities will keep you occupied for hours. When you can finally leave, you as well exit the room and head straight to rehab for Candy Crush addiction.
4. A list of prepackaged excuses.
If you’re going to get offers to hang out in a bunch of social situations that make you cringe, be prepared. Dude, I would but my freezer broke so I have to cook all of my rapidly thawing meat ASAP. Yo, that sounds awesome but my stomach has acting up lately, and I wouldn’t want to put your upholstery at risk. Wow, seriously, that sounds like a blast but I’m doing… stuff.
Save it for those rare, glorious moments when plans you dejectedly agreed to a few weeks ago get canceled. You’re now off the hook, and maybe this is a good time to enjoy a celebratory shot from your vial as well. Just make sure you throw a handful of those tiny pieces of colored paper into the air and let the festival of empty schedules and zero obligations commence.
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image – Amazon