All humans are inherently terrible. You, me, the woman sitting next to me on this airplane right now who I really hope looks over at my screen and reads this and then doesn’t say anything about it because she doesn’t want me to know she is looking at my screen — we all have one thing in common: we were created to disappoint not only ourselves, but those around us as well. It’s the human condition.
Having to interact with myself on a daily basis is bad enough. Pepper in some waiters, a tollbooth operator, or, worst-case scenario, a hemophiliac, and I begin wondering how I thought for even a single second that venturing out into the world would be a worthwhile endeavor. I then will usually make some awful joke to myself like “Ben and Jerry are the only people in this world worth keeping around,” promise to never talk to anybody ever again, and repeat this whole process the next day.
That’s why I decided a while back that I would do the mature thing: turn my deep-seeded hatred for everybody that’s ever existed into a game. Each day, I wake up with the goal of going to sleep that night having interacted with the least amount of people possible. It’s a fun and cool way to minimize the amount of human interaction you have on a daily basis. If you’re trying to stop dealing with people, the game is the way to go.
This game doesn’t have a name – for good reason. Nomenclature is a social concept. The only reason you give something a name is so that thing can be communally referenced, discussed, and categorized by other people. If I were to give a name to the game it would completely defeat the purpose of the game itself. Why would I contribute another talking point to a world in which I’ve made a point to avoid anything even remotely resembling conversation? Thus, the game remains nameless.
When you play the game, you’re going for the lowest score possible. It’s like golf, but replace the whole etiquette aspect with the polar opposite of etiquette: intentional disregard. The key to setting a new personal best in the game is forethought. Before you enter a situation where you know interpersonal interaction is even a minor possibility, think about how that situation can be avoided if it were to arise.
Did you use the self-checkout station at the grocery store even though the overly cheery, almost-through-his-acne-stage teenage cashier tossed you a “I can take you over here if you’re ready?” Do you write “leave on the doorstep” in the delivery instructions section of your online pizza order? If so, you’re well on your way to the big leagues. If not, take notes. Either way, here are two more pro tips to help you lower the amount of human interaction you have on a daily basis.
1. Become entirely self-sufficient at work
This one may be difficult for you to do, as most places of business are designed to promote synergy amongst the workers. To that, I say “embrace the challenge.” As long as you’re relying on other people in any facet of your life, you will never be truly antisocial. It’s time to break the mold. Don’t put yourself out there, but rather put yourself in there — “there” being your own personal safe space where it is just you and your thoughts, alone together to hate everything about each other until one of you eventually taps out and croaks, causing the other one to die as well.
While self-sufficiency is generally seen as a noble characteristic, that’s not the kind of self-sufficiency I’m talking about here. This is over-the-top, “that-guy-is-a-huge-asshole” self-sufficiency. Not only will you do everything for yourself, you expect everybody else to do everything for themselves as well.
The effect here is two-fold. You avoid having to work with others because you’re doing everything for yourself. Other people will avoid working with you because you are the most unhelpful, unsympathetic person they’ve ever met. With each dismissal you bestow upon a coworker, you’ll feel some points shaved off of your daily total.
2. Change how you sneeze
Much to the dismay of peoplehaters like us, there are certain unavoidable actions, like a sneeze, where society has deemed human interaction requisite.
“God bless you.”
Guess what, sneezy? That’s one human interaction. Put it on the board. If the person says “gesundheit,” it counts as two points, too – a penalty you incur for getting that close to a piece of human garbage that would respond to your sneeze with such a posh, douchey response. Usually sneezes don’t come in ones, either. As it stands, you’re looking at an average of at least 1.5 human interactions each time you sneeze. Those are minor league numbers, and they’re completely avoidable.
If you feel a sneeze coming, you have two options to save yourself from getting scored on.
A. Run to a secluded area
This is probably the most common maneuver for avoiding a sneeze interaction, but it’s not the recommended one. For some reason, there are sickos out there who get off on responding to sneezes. Sneeze snipers are a very real problem, and can be the difference between you nabbing a good score and a mediocre. You ever think you’re alone, let out a sneeze, and hear a faint, almost nonexistent voice say “God bless you?” It was at the point where I would sneeze and keep running like Leo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can to make sure I was out of earshot of anybody who might try to bless me. That’s when I came up with the solution to this problem, the Jared-approved method for doing the zero-interaction version of the Dikembe Mutombo finger-wag right in a sneeze sniper’s stupid face.
B. Replace “achoo” with “God bless me.”
Such a simple solution, but one that’s not widely known. The element of surprise that comes along with this sneeze exclamation is actually one of the main reasons why it is so successful. It doesn’t matter if you’re around someone or not — if you sneeze and say “God bless me,” nobody within earshot will have any idea how to respond. You’re taking away their only option. There is no conversation to be had, no further commentary to make, nothing. Who gives a shit if you get some weird looks? Just smile to yourself and savor those points you saved.
Want to have less social interaction? Play the game. You won’t regret it..
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