Every socially awkward person knows that the best way to avoid feeling uncomfortable in a social situation is to avoid it. Unfortunately, no matter how much you try to avoid them social situations find you.
One of the worst places for accidental social situations is the grocery store. Here are my top five tips for avoiding strangers who want to talk to you while you’re minding your own business trying to determine the ripeness of a cantaloupe.
- Cough. I find that a loud phlegmy cough does wonders for getting people to keep their distance. The cough should come from deep in your chest. Forcing a cough can be rough on the throat. It may even be painful, but if it keeps the guy who squeezed his junk into spandex bike shorts from approaching you to explain how to pick out a ripe melon, isn’t the pain worth it? If you can actually produce some phlegm and spit it into the nearly disintegrated tissue you keep in your pocket that will help even more.
- Dance. There’s always music in the grocery store. They tend towards light hits like Lionel Richie and Elton John. It doesn’t really matter what the music is though. Actually you don’t need to have music at all. All you need is the ability to move and some imagination. Dancing is an art and the type of dancing that will keep strangers away is less foxtrot and more Martha Graham. Be expressive. Large arm movements force strangers to keep their distance.
- Sing. You don’t necessarily have to sing along to the music that’s actually playing. You may want to sing something completely different. It doesn’t really matter what you’re singing just as long as you sing it badly. You wouldn’t want anyone to compliment you on your singing. Then you might be forced to talk to them. Make sure you look like you’re really into it. Most people won’t want to interrupt your artistic moment.
- Argue. I’ve found that if you are having an argument with someone on your cell phone most people in the grocery store will avoid you. You could go one of two ways on this. You could just pretend to be arguing with someone on your phone, but if you’re a terrible actor, like me, you’ll have difficulty pulling that off. I find it best to call someone in my contact list and pick a fight with them. Yes, you are technically interacting with someone if you do that, but the fact that you’ve interacted with that person before makes it easier. If you like the person, call them back later to apologize. You don’t have to do that though. The fewer friends you have the fewer socially awkward situations you’ll find yourself in.
- Fart. A toxic cloud of malodorous gas is the ultimate protection from social interaction. Eat a big bowl of chili or a bean burrito the size of your head before you go to the store. Then just let ‘em rip. Not only will you feel tremendous relief, but you’ll clear the aisles.
Follow these guidelines and you’ll never have to worry about having to speak to a stranger in the grocery store again.
H. Lovelyn Bettison
H. Lovelyn Bettison is an author and blogger. Read about the funny side of life on her blog Nebulous Mooch where life is all sunshine and sausages.