If Only ‘Social Security’ Meant the Government Would Stop People from Trying to Socialize with Me

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Perhaps because I am the only white dude at my gym, every other person seems to want to talk to me. It doesn’t matter if I’m covered in sweat, in the middle of lifting something I’ll never be able to lift (like 85% of the weights in the gym), or even getting changed in the locker room, somebody always wants to come up and say something. Usually, they approach to tell me I’m lifting the weights or doing the exercise incorrectly. The conversation goes like this:

Korean Meathead: No! (gestures to what I’m doing) (laughs in smirking fashion)

Me: Oh…well…I dunno.

KM: Like this. (demonstrates)

Me: Okay. Thanks.

KM: You do. (stands over me and watches me exercise for next 5-15 minutes)

It’s damn embarrassing. Sometimes if I recognize certain social people in the gym, I’ll avoid the weights altogether and run on the track just so I won’t have to talk to them.

“They’re just being friendly,” my girlfriend said.

“I know,” I told her. “Why do they have to do that? What’s wrong with people? Can’t they just go away?”

Social drinking is one thing. That I can get behind. But social exercising? Totally uncalled for. Today I thought it would be fun to look at other ‘social’ situations and characters that need to stop or be stopped. Fine, say I’m being anti-social. That’s true. Just don’t say it to me in these scenarios:

The Social Barber: It’s bad enough that I have to stare at myself in a mirror for a half an hour, getting a haircut is even more torturous when it’s The Social Barber doing the cutting. Listen, I’ve got wet hair down over my eyes and I’m wearing some kind of hospital smock like I’m going into a Cat Scan soon, the last thing I need is to play 20 Questions. Unless you really like talking about your job while someone butchers your head, never having to see TSB is the best consolidation a guy can have for going bald.

The Social Subway Ridin’ Dude: You ever get on the subway and go, “Jesus, how the hell am I going to fill the ten minutes it’ll take to get to my destination? I wish I had someone to talk to!” No? Me neither, but this thought process is natural for the Social Subway Ridin’ Dude. Try to ignore him. It’s useless. He won’t be denied your attention, whether it’s by talking to you or by trapping someone sitting close to you in his overly enthusiastic convo, and having to overhear the whole thing is almost equally painful. The only solutions to dealing with TSSRD are to either buy an IPod or move to Japan where the subway is dead silent.

The Social Old Man: He is without a doubt the biggest menace to society. He has stories – lots of them – and will share them with you in an astoundingly dull, never-ending slow trickle of words. The most potent weapons The Social Old Man has are his abilities to literally bore you to death coupled with the fact that it’s rude to brush him off. Society respects its elders and he takes advantage of that. Having to sit through 20 minutes of TSOM will build your endurance strong enough to withstand two church sermons and 7 months of subway rides.

The Social Business Ownin’ Guy on Facebook: You’ve never met this guy in your life, and yet you share 300 mutual friends (none of which have met him either). He’s a clever, business savvy son-of-a-gun, usually with a tattoo shop or a nightclub to promote. He will bombard you with Facebook event invites and will wow your newsfeed with pictures of his entrepreneurial endeavors. On your birthday, he will send his wishes. The thing is, after awhile, you’ll feel like you know him better than the Facebook friends who you’ve actually met. Eventually he will wiggle his way into your heart, if not your wallet.

The Social Co-worker: There is a rule about the Social Co-worker – if he is interesting or cool, then he is just a regular co-worker, but if he is dull and insanely talkative, then he qualifies as being the SC. He doesn’t understand that friendship dynamics in the workplace have already been established. He will talk endlessly about his life, regardless of how busy you are, and eventually invite you to things that you don’t want to go to. He will also complain about the job a lot, as he inevitably sucks at it. Bear in mind, in many situations, the Social Co-worker is you and you just don’t know.

It’s not that I don’t like to talk to people…I’m just maybe a little picky about the setting. Now it’s time for me to go to work and harass my Korean co-workers who have no interest in talking to me. Then I’ll make pleasant conversation with my students, who will later go home and write their own blogs about The Social Teacher Who Wrongly Thinks He’s Cool.

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24 thoughts on “If Only ‘Social Security’ Meant the Government Would Stop People from Trying to Socialize with Me

  1. People assume that I am hugely outgoing because 1) I’m a Gemini and 2) I can carry on a conversation, but I’m actually really introverted :/ Pretending to be social is exhausting.

    • Hi Impy! I too am a Gemini and can carry on a conversation. Look at that, so much in common! I’m socially bipolar I think. Sometimes I like it, sometimes I want to sit by myself in my room and listen to music. All about the mood.

      I hear bats are very social animals. They live communally, I believe.

      • All about the mood, I can identify with that! After a party, I need to decompress and have down time to “recover”. I love listening to music or doing artwork by myself. Bats are very social animals that live communally! There are around 1,500,000 Mexican free-tailed bats that live under the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas :)

    • I don’t believe that Ren. You’re a party animal from what I can tell. haha. No, I think that’s the way most of us are…although an Encyclopedia is pushing it a little. : )

  2. Yes yes yes! If I could like this again, I would!

    I know exactly how you feel, my top three would have to be:

    1) the time a naked woman in the gym changerooms spent ten minutes talking to me about my runners. As she was drying off her naked body. Gah.

    2) The guy on the train who spent 20 minutes trying to talk to me; despite the fact that I was a) listening to music and b) fobbing him off. As he got off, after I had repeatedly tried to blank him, he went “You really need to smile more often” GAH!

    3) I had a farewell event for a close friend a few weeks ago at a bar, and I spent half the night talking to the most boring person there…WHO WASNT EVEN HIS FRIENDS! Such topics of conversation included him and his brother eating celery…and what was worse, even when we escaped to the toilets, he resumed his conversation as soon as we came back.

    I don’t think I can reinforce how much I dislike socially awkward talkative people.

    • Hey! Another Melbournian! :)
      The thing that scares me about your #1 is that she took 10 whole minutes to dry herself. If it takes that long the acreage must be so high that it might be time to tell her the gym isn’t working. ;)

      • Why hello there! Yes another Melbournian :)

        Haha, actually the thing was, she was very thin and fit. Which made it even more disconcerting, as she was reallllyyy taking her time drying off. Awkward.

      • Yeah, 10 minutes is REALLY taking your time! Are you sure she was even wet? Sounds like she was faking it to continue the conversation. Your runners much be extremely intriguing.

        I feel bad for the celery guy. He probably went home feeling like he’d just had a real connection with someone. I would think you’d be pretty easy to talk to, SIM, as you like books and movies and stuff. That’s always important. Sometimes I’ll meet people who have very little interest in things like that, and the conversation is brutal (ie celery).

  3. haha! I love SOM. There was this one man I met while traveling someplace. I was just minding by own business listening to music, desperately trying to avoid any ‘oldiespeak’, when he began about the perils of having headphones on and what it could do one’s hearing. I had to humor him. The problem with old people is that they demand a huge ‘politeness tax’ and you just have to pay up.

    • Well put, Aparna – ‘politeness tax’ is absolutely right. I think it’s cute how he thought he could sway you away from headphones. At least he didn’t start talking to you about India.

      Take care, Aparna! Don’t ruin your hearing!

    • Thanks Richard! I’m categorizing you as the regular co-worker, as you are not annoying. Granted, I don’t know you. I am 100% the Social Co-worker at my job…you should see the pained look on those Korean women’s faces. A) They don’t want to talk to me. B) They struggle with English so it actually requires effort for them to deal with my lame conversation. So, that said, if you’re a fellow Social Co-worker, high five guy!

  4. Why do people not realize that earphones in your ears are the polite way of saying ” This is my alone time!”

    Sometimes I double this up by reading a book, but some colleague I barely know will still want to small-talk in the trapped confines of an elevator. Sigh!

    • Oooh, good one Drew! The Social Elevator Rider. I hate that, because you have to try and time out your responses, because you don’t want to carry the conversation past the moment the elevator arrives at your floor. Gotta say your peace and have it done with so that you don’t have to keep conversing post-destination reach. It requires a bit of skill.

      Peace Drew!

  5. Guilty today of another one: I was standing at a red light waiting to cross a road and a hotted up Commodore comes screaming around the corner just beating the red, accelerates, then suddenly stops behind Grandma backing out of a park. I said to the bloke next to me “He got nowhere in a hurry”. The guy replied with “Yeah, I wouldn’t want to pay his fuel bill.”
    And as the lights turn green and we started crossing, I realised we were two Social Pedestrians waiting at the Traffic lights… Damn it!

    • Haha! Again, I think this is okay. If you have some witter bit of banter to share, it is acceptable. The joke-and-run technique brings joy to everyone around the world. Well done!

  6. I have experienced being bombarded by personal questions too whenever I get a haircut. I guess the haircutter just wants to get a connection or you know, what they call PR. I hate it actually because I just want to relax and read magazines while having my hair cut.

    Oh yeah, I have met that SOcial subway riding dude too. Got earphones listening to music so I didn’t hear him. But he was very persistent so he gave me a gentle nudge at the elbow and started talking to me about the donuts I was holding. He was like..”Is there a Krispy Kreme here that I do not know of?” And I was like, “Oh no, a friend from the Philippines came to visit me and gave me these. ” (I was in SG then and she gave a box of Krispy Kreme donuts. Yummy! I didn’t know then that there are no KK donuts in SG then.) Anyway, good thing I was about to alight the train when he started the conversation. Hehe…

    For the SOM…oh I sometimes meet a few interesting SOMs…so no effort in giving them my attention. Sometimes they do relate a few interesting stories.

    For the social co worker…Oh I just pretend I am always on the go and always say…”Hey, I need to do something. Talk to you later.” Hehe

    For the Social FB…Oh I met one…he was a pain in the neck at first…then every night he would send messages. Then, he became interesting and we became chatmates, skypemates, until I felt I’m starting to care. Then suddenly, he left me hanging. Then after a few months of no communication, he’s dating someone already and then, a few months after, he’s engaged. Oh well, learned something from there.

    I guess all of us here in the blogging community are anti social that’s why we are all communicating through posting comments whenever we feel like instead of hanging out in a bar or something. Haha…just kidding…

    I wonder if you’re going to talk to me in case I approach you somewhere. Hehe…

    • Hi Jeps! Donuts are always a good place to start random conversation. Hmm, on the FB tip, I like what you wrote and now I want to change – it should just be the stranger on FB who weaves his way into your heart, not necessarily a business promoter. I have a bunch of promoter guys, so that was what I first thought of. One dude I know in real life, he runs a business where they do trips in Korea. Anyways, I never go on the trips, so the guy defriended me. I thought it was kind of funny, like “Dude, I know you! You defriended me cause I don’t go on your trips?” Whack, man! Anyways, you’re probably right that there’s a bit of anti-social behavior in any blogger. And to answer your last part, of course I’d talk to you on the street! I’d buy you a cup of coffee and a donut even! : D

      • Actually, the guy was a former classmate in grade school as I have discovered eventually. And we have some common friends. And that is where interesting conversations started. However, after a few months of chatting and skyping, I don’t know, he just left me hanging. I was hurt then because I was starting to care. Then after a few months, I saw his posts on fb about a new gf. The weird thing is…me and her gf has a lot in common like we were from the same school, same profession, have common friends too, etc. Anyways, I like the idea of coffee and donuts and talk about you being given a middle finger by a Korean girl..hehe…

  7. My parents spent a fair amount of their parenting years trying to teach me good manners. As a result, I became somewhat retiring and afraid to offend people. Unfortunately, these traits have not stood me in good stead. I am making the concerted effort to now be rude. At a mere intermediate civil rude person, this involves one word answers to questions, dead staring at people, or completely avoiding their eyes. Every so often there is the exasperated sigh followed closely by a cutting remark or deafening silence with a raised eyebrow.

    I so do detest randomly social people. If you have something to say, say it. If not, keep quiet.

    • Hi Sylvia! Yeah, I’m kind of in the same boat. My father is a huge talk-to-strangers person. He will talk to everyone, especially the waiter at whatever restaurant we go to. I always found this really embarrassing, and I think as an effect I overcompensated and won’t talk to anyone without having a good reason to. I don’t know if I’m rude…I typically just kind of nervously giggle and get away. Good on you for being less polite now. It’s sort of like standing up for yourself…in a minimalist kind of way.

      I love the word ‘detest.’ Thank you for brightening my day with it! Take care Sylvia, always enjoy hearing from you. : )

  8. Hilarious post! :) I’m always the person that seems to end up talking to a weird person who has something crazy to talk about. Apparently I’m good at pretending I’m interested, when I should just be a bitch. lol I had to deal with TOO MANY SC’s at the stupid factory I worked at. It was like I wanted to say, “I could really care less about how much you have to work here & how hard it is for you to tie chickens together all day!” It was a nightmare… they continuously made me feel guilty just because they knew I was going back to school. I didn’t even brag about going back to school. They just kept wanting to talk about it and then giving themselves a reason to complain. I totally know where you’re coming from.

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