Personally, I still prefer actual human contact – just in very small doses, and I’m not alone in this.
Unsurprisingly, people like us are often labelled anti-social or unsociable at times and, in all honesty, I too have described myself as such, but upon further investigation I have come to realise that actually, with the right people and in the right circumstances I am actually very sociable. It’s not people I have a problem with per se but rather the bullshit that they can sometimes bring with them. For the most part people are fine but every now and then you meet a few who make a lifetime of isolation seem endearing. Take the following six types of people for example:
A great Destiny’s Child song but also a person with the ability to put you off socialising with anyone ever again. The Bugaboo is someone that just won’t leave you alone. Subtle hints, billboards asking them to leave you alone, restraining orders…Nothing works with these people. They’ve entered your life and they’re planning to make it their permanent home. In general, these people are usually well-meaning but very annoying. They have a knack for calling at the most inconvenient times, always want to ‘meet up’ and are generally always looking for ways to insert themselves in to your schedule despite the fact that you’ve explained a million times that you’re busy and that you’ll call them when you’re free. They’re not the worst people as far as friends go but they just need to learn to back off a little.
The ‘Sad Sack’
Do you remember the children’s cartoon the ‘Raggy Dolls’ from the 80s? One of the dolls, Sad Sack, was a miserable git. To be fair, all the bad things did tend to happen to him and boy didn’t he lament about it. It was always ‘Bad things always happen to me’ and ‘Oh poor me’. If he’d taken his head out of his own arse for just a second though he might have realised that he wasn’t the only one with problems – all of his friends were rejects; dolls that nobody wanted. They all lived in a bloody Reject Bin and one of his friends was called ‘Back-to-front’ for Christ sake!
Even if you’ve never seen Raggy Dolls, you know Sad Sack. Sad Sack only calls or visits you when something is wrong. Obviously you should be able to call on your friends to offer support, comfort and, if need be, chocolate when bad situations arise but for a Sad Sack every situation is a bad situation and no matter how positive you try to be and how many possibilities you try to introduce them to, Sad Sack’s aren’t interested. We’re not talking about someone with depression here, that’s a completely different – and very serious – kettle of fish. We’re talking about people who revel in misery because deep down they’re comfortable in such a place. Of course they’re entitled to this comfort if that’s what floats their boat but what they’re not entitled to do is spread their melancholy around like an air-born virus, attacking everyone it its wake.
As the person on the receiving end of a Sad Sack you enter the conversation feeling relatively happy or at the very least are in an even mood depending on your day, but by the end you’re left feeling drained, miserable and deflated because all of the positive energy you had has been sucked out of you. Meanwhile you’re Sad Sack usually ends the conversation with ‘Oh I’m feeling much better now. Thanks!’
The Audience Member.
Person A “Hello?”
Person B “Hi it’s me”
Person A “Oh Hi, how are you?”
Person B “Fine thanks, you?”
Person A “Yeah, not too bad thanks, I’m just chillin’, watching some TV.”
Person B “Cool.”
*Long, awkward silence.*
Person A “So, um, what can I do for you?”
Person B “Oh nothing, I’m just bored so I thought I’d give you a call.
Now you can interpret this in one of two ways. You can be flattered that someone finds you so entertaining that they call you when they’re bored or you can be pissed off because, like a trained monkey, you’re expected to perform at the drop of a hat when requested to do so by someone who lacks the imagination to entertain themselves.
Calling someone because you’re bored is not a good idea, mainly because the point of initiating contact with someone is that you have something to say to them even if it’s just to enquire as to whether the person you have called is okay. Calling someone when you have nothing to say is like sending someone a blank e-mail or turning up on their doorstep and refusing to speak – it’s stupid and weird.
The Piss Artist
Now here are a group of people who really should be labelled unsociable given that they can’t interact with people without the aid of alcohol.
Generally speaking, these are the people who consider two days in a drunken haze a ‘brilliant weekend’ and getting completely rat-arsed in the company of their colleagues an employee right of passage. The problem with being around Piss Artists is that you can never really form real relationships with them because everything is based on the amount of alcohol consumed. Any suggestion of – God forbid – participating in a social activity that doesn’t involve alcohol just results in a look of confusion and fear: “What? You mean I’ll just have to be myself? Forget it mate!”
Socialising with Piss Artists can be especially taxing if you don’t drink excessively or at all in which case it’s better to just forget mixing with these people all together.
This is a polite term for those folks who only ever call because they want something but don’t have the balls to admit it.
Literally months – or even years – can pass without hearing hyde nor hare from this person then suddenly the phone or doorbell rings and there they are. They present with all the usual niceties: ‘How are you?’ ‘How’s the family?’ ‘How’s work?’ When they’re satisfied that they’ve fooled you into believing that they actually give a crap, they go in for the kill: ‘So listen, I was wondering if you can help me with something…’
As if that weren’t bad enough, when you actually bring to their attention the fact that they do this they are genuinely offended that you’re offended!
So-called because they talk so much and at such great lengths about themselves that they actually don’t require the other person to converse with them. They seem very happy to hear the sound of their own voice.
All conversations revolve around these people: what they’ve been up too; what happened to them; how they feel about something; what’s going well for them; what other people have done to them; how they feel about themselves…
Meanwhile, two hours in to this ‘conversation’, your contribution has been nothing more than the occasional ‘Hmmm’ and ‘Yeah’ and you lost the will to live about forty-five minutes previously. As a result, if you’re lucky enough to be undergoing this torture over the phone you’ve now placed the person on speaker and are busy shopping for handbags on Ebay, unbeknown to your caller who is still deeply engrossed in their own verbal autobiography.
Perhaps the most infuriating part of this self-love fest is their absolute indifference to you. Beside they cursory ‘How are you’, which for them is a standard line rather than an actual enquiry; nothing about the ‘conversation’ is actually conversational. You end up being ‘talked at’ instead of ‘talked to’ which almost feels like an attack – someone is just throwing words at you. They may as well have called the speaking clock for all the input required from you. It’s rude, unbelievably selfish and enraging.
So with all of this in mind, is it surprising that some of us would rather spend a great deal of our time alone, curled up with a good book or TV show, a glass of wine and a box of chocolates?