1. Attempt to Make Small Talk With Them (Especially Early In The Morning)
I have to show my I.D. badge everyday to a gate guard. They never look very happy, though I guess I can’t blame them. This pretty much always makes me anxious for a variety of weird reasons that change and grow each day, none of them are terribly realistic. It’s early, the sun is still rising, I probably spent the ten minutes in line panicking because I’m positive I forgot my badge only to realize it’s hanging around my neck at the last moment, all the while praying to Jesus that I can somehow seamlessly turn around without anyone noticing somehow. On top of all that, you have a gun. So please, take pity on me by not attempting to communicate with me in any other way than by saying ‘Thank you, have a nice day.” I appreciate the ‘drive safe’ comment but I inevitably always say ‘you too,’ which leaves me feeling stupid for about five minutes and secretly hating you for forcing me to hate you. This obviously is not a personal problem.
2. Force Them To Speak to A Group On Short Notice
Nothing ruins my day quite like an impromptu meeting where I am expected to actually speak, especially when it involves people who get paid significantly more than I do whom I have never met. I seriously forget everything I have ever known about any topic ever, let alone the one I’m supposed to talk about, in the span of about two seconds. Fortunately for everyone involved, this happens very rarely. My pulse is racing and my stomach is churning just thinking about it. Like that time I accidentally introduced myself to a group of fifteen people as my boss, who is a man and definitely has a man’s name. Breathe… breathe.
3. Hit on Them
Come at me casually with a friendly, laid back demeanor, and I can usually handle my shit. Go straight for the kill, as it were, and I will, in the span of about three minutes, make you seriously question why you ever made your way across the bar to speak with me in the first place. You can blame it on beer goggles, I will not be offended. My ability to unintentionally send a man running in a bar is pretty much legendary among my friends. Better than being barf girl, or Black-Out-Betty, I guess. Oh well, I’ll have another Maker’s and coke please.
4. Ask Them For Their Opinion On A Controversial Issue
Whether I have a strong, knowledgeable opinion about said topic or not, being asked point blank (especially by someone I don’t know well) will immediately make me question everything about not only it, but myself, your intentions, the nature of humanity, and the universe itself. Which, as a consequence, makes me forget everything I actually know about the issue and you’ll probably be walking away feeling much more intelligent. You’re welcome.
5. Make Them Walk Up or Down A Flight of Stairs First
This might just be me, I don’t know, this is the first time I’ve ever been able to admit this particular anxiety openly. I can’t tell if my hands are shaking or if it’s just the coffee.
Here is a taste of my inner monologue during such instances: ‘Everyone is watching me, I just know it, and of course I’m totally going to trip, that’s just how my life works. This is just like that time in high school when I took out three popular upper classmen girls climbing down the bleachers. I ate lunch in the drama room with that weird creepy guy for three months out of sheer mortification. I’m not even sure what the adult equivalent of that is.
6. Leave Them Hanging For A High-Five
My hell would be filled with people constantly ignoring my high-fives, I’m pretty sure. You’re just left with so many terrible, awkward questions. How long should you hold your hand up there? Do you try to get their attention somehow? Would that just make it worse? Do they actually see it and they really just hate me and are repulsed by the idea of touching me? Quick! Commence weird, awkward laughter! That’ll fix it.
7. Ask Them To Repeat Themselves
I will be concerned, immediately, that I have offended you in some way. Or that my comment was actually really stupid and I should totally reword it, maybe act like I didn’t say anything at all. Maybe I’ll just bring up the topic of your ex-boyfriend, which should distract you for at least a good twenty minutes until I can get over my internal mortification.