There’s nothing more satisfying than catching up with that friend you haven’t seen since you hit puberty and discussing all of the embarrassing college anecdotes you’ve been collecting over the years. Though everything may seem like it’s going smoothly (you’re laughing at each other’s jokes and not envisioning ways to complain about the person to your other friends on Facebook when you get home), it only takes one bad conversation topic to send things spiraling out of control. The problem is, not many people even realize they’re falling into this conversational trap until they’re three minutes into their dream interpretation and you’ve begun silently constructing an excuse to leave ahead of schedule.
1. What Happened In Your Dream Last Night
“Last night, I had the weirdest dream that I was sledding down a muddy hill on a trash can lid, even though I like, hate sledding, and out of nowhere, this reindeer walks into the road- oh yeah, the hill just turned into a road out of nowhere, like, how weird is that- and he starts saying ‘these are not the hills you’re looking for.’ Then I turned into a phoenix and-“ STOP. As fascinating and exotic as your imagination is, I can neither see nor hear the talking reindeer that you saw in your head, nor do I have any interest in listening to how much it looked like your ex-boyfriend unless it starts listing off winning lottery numbers. That’s important. Tell me that story.
2. Your Vegetarianism
Nothing gets on my nerves more than when a person goes out of their way to accentuate their voluntary rejection of meat. “I don’t think I’ll make cookies tonight. I think someone used the baking sheet to cook a pot roast in the oven yesterday so I can’t use it because, meat.” I’m not trying to say that vegetarianism as a concept is flawed; if you don’t want leftover pot roast juice to taint your baked goods, then by all means, stay away from the oven, but don’t think you need to narrate your reasons behind doing so. “I don’t think I’ll make cookies tonight” would suffice.
3. How Drunk You Got On *Insert Popular Holiday or Weekend*
I get it. Drinking is great. It lowers you inhibitions and sheds the added anxiety that prevents you from belly-dancing on the counter of your favorite bar. My concern is not with stories that start out with “My friends and I got really drunk…” but stories that simply repeat “My friends and I got really drunk…” in creative ways for 10 minutes straight in an effort so somehow impress the listener who doesn’t actually care whether said person was slightly inebriated or totally smashed.
4. The Non-Interactions You Had With You High School Crush
Unless the story ends with “and then he asked me out and we got married 5 years later,” or perhaps a more scandalous version complete with detailed stories fit for an all-girls sleepover, maybe save it for your journal, or at least invent an interesting lie to make it more exciting.
5. What Your Next Blog Subject Is
With the blogs of professional Pixar theorists being the exception, the only person that cares about your online blog is you and the handful of internet stalkers you’ve gained over the years.
6. How Many Guys/Girls You Have Chasing After You
“You guyssssss. I have a date on Friday who wants to go clubbing but I can’t stay out too late because I have a breakfast date with another person on Saturday and then a dinner date with a different guy Saturday night and oh my god, so stressful.” Dating is hard, I’ll give you that, but when you willingly accept date proposals from three different men or women within a two-day period, the levels of remorse I feel go from “you poor thing!” to “you did this to yourself.”
7. That Really Macho Thing You Did
What was that? You arm-wrestled an alligator after recovering from a deadly flu that wiped out half your village? That’s funny. All I heard was “I’m looking for gratification from others, please indulge my embellished macho story.” I’m also probably questioning why you were living in a village to begin with, but that’s besides the point.
8. Your Day
I’m not saying that nobody cares about your day, because I can guarantee that your mom and grandma both genuinely want to know what happened. Rather, I’m saying that if an acquaintance passes you on the street and asks “how was your day,” the appropriate response is “good” because ain’t nobody got time for a full conversation.
9. What Horribly Unfair Thing Your Parents Did The Other Day
Sometimes, parents are a drag. They treat you like a child and expect you to act like an adult, which is just alienating enough to make you want to wear all black and renounce civilization. However, if you spend more than 20 minutes explaining why your mom is “the most unappreciative, mean human being” after she bought you a Cadillac instead of a Corvette, I will begin slowly inching towards the door before your inflating brattiness explodes over the restaurant booth and causes a scene.
10. Every “You Had To Be There” Story
Because I wasn’t there, and I never will be.