"I almost stole a pair of shoes to avoid my brother-in-laws. I was trying on some new running shoes at the mall and walking around the store to see how they fit. I got a little distracted and started fooling around with my phone but when I looked up, I saw they had walked into the store. They didn't notice me but they were walking around the store and were about to see me, so I ducked out of there. I had one of those cartoon 'phew' moments and boogied on out.
I got all the way out of the mall and into my car before I asked myself why I even came to the mall. Then I looked down and saw my brand new, stolen shoes. I went back and bought them, but I probably could have just left my old ratty ones there and never went back. The store clerk even told me I should have. He probably did not enjoy his job."
"I transferred out of my department, took a pay cut, and moved to second shift. I was forced to work with this strange guy who was nice but just NEVER SHUT UP. When I asked why I was forced to work with him every day, it was because out of the 25 other people in the department, I was the only one who hadn't blown up at him for not ever shutting up. When I went to Human Resources and asked if there was anything that could be done, they said no because he wasn't being abusive or offensive or harassing me by the standards in the handbook. I began wearing earplugs but he'd just ramble on right through and I sorta need to actually hear things going on around me while I work. I eventually got fed up and left.
I still work at the same company and now make more than I did when I left that department. So worth it."
"In high school, I wore XXXL sweatshirts which, since I was 5'0" and 80lbs, completely drowned me. They hung past my knees and even when I pushed the sleeves up to my elbows the excess folds of fabric would fall back down all the way to my wrists.
I always kept the hood up and faced the floor when I was walking. Once I got to wherever it was I was going, I sat with my knees pulled up underneath the sweatshirt, my chin tucked down by my knees and under the collar of the sweatshirt, and the hood pulled down to cover my eyebrows. I even tucked my hands into the front pocket, meaning that the only part of me that was actually visible was my eyes, peering suspiciously at everything in front of me.
No one ever talked to me. Victory was mine."
"I can't do it very often, for obvious reasons, but I dropped off my glasses to get a lens replaced once and was walking around the mall half-blind, and a dude at a cart tried to stop me with a pitch of some sort and I just gestured at my ear and said, 'Sorry man, I can't hear you. I don't have my glasses on.'
He just stopped mid-pitch, and I wish I could have seen the look on his face as he tried to process it."
"When my younger brother and I (who is as socially inept as me) were teenagers we climbed out of his bedroom window, ran across the flat roof above the kitchen, climbed down onto the roof of the small shed next to the house which contained a freezer, jumped down and ran to the park to wait out some of my mum's friends who didn't know we were at home. All because we didn't want to/know how to converse with adults politely.
We had to time it perfectly though because the room which they were in had huge glass french doors that looked out onto the garden and they could have seen us. Luckily there was also another shed at the end of the garden with all the gardening stuff in it which had several windows, and I was used to using the reflections to see what was going on in that room."
"I saw my mother while I was walking into a Target. She was just inside the entrance looking at those shelves that have all the candy and other stuff little kids are into.
I IMMEDIATELY noticed her. Thankfully, I have a very light step so she didn't hear me and I looked the other way and walked right by her quickly and went the long way around the store to stay out of her peripheral vision.
I was at a Starbucks and my friend's mom from high school came in. I hadn't seen her in 20 years, but I immediately recognized her. (I'm a super recognizer and am extremely good with faces). She saw me but didn't recognize me and I didn't engage in conversation and tried to not attract attention to myself."
"In church, at the foot of the stairs up to the choir loft, there's an older lady there waiting to corner me in 'small talk' before I get to the organ to play for services. She means well, but I'm thinking about the music I'm about to play and the choir waiting for my direction while she wants to talk about things like what's on sale at the grocery store. So, I politely tell her, 'Wish I could stay and chat, but if I do, I'll have to tell the priest it was your fault that the service started late... and we mustn't have that!'
Her reply, invariably, is, 'Heavens, no!'"
"In a bar, a friend and I had just gotten our first round when two good-looking women came up to the bar next to us. My friend introduced himself, standard small talk commences.
Three sentences into the most canned conversation of my life, I loudly said, 'MOST. BORING. CONVERSATION. EVER,' and proceeded to tell the girls that we had just come from Friday Night Magic (magic the gathering weekly events at the local card store) and had every intention of drinking until the bar closed.
After a look of shock, the prettier girl goes, 'Oh my god I used to play that with my big brother!' They turned out to be super nice and we hung out pretty consistently for the rest of the summer."
"My old phone (Samsung Tocco Lite, God bless that little guy) had a 'fake ring' that activated if you held a certain combination of buttons. You'd hold them down in your pocket, and after a 15-second delay, your phone would ring properly with the screen and everything. You could also record an audio file that would play through the handset's earpiece in case the other person was close enough/in a quiet enough place to hear it. In my naivety, I recorded my friend talking about a news story that - funnily enough - became extremely dated within a few weeks.
I don't know what was going on at Samsung but whoever designed that phone had serious social anxiety."
"I work for the government and it's unionized, obviously. Well, a good portion of the people there will spend half their day walking around and socializing with other people.
I'll be using a concrete saw with headphones, dust mask, and goggles on. They'll walk in a motion for me, so I shut everything down. then get asked, 'How are you?'
I have never responded with anything other than, 'Good,' Yet people still do this daily.
At this point, I've taken to locking doors and using my iPod. Yeah, I get it's nice to be friendly but when I'm working I don't care about the weather or how your lasagna turned out last night."
"Company canteen, Friday afternoon, end of the day. Everyone is having drinks and grabbing some snacks, talking. And I'm just there to grab a drink and eat some snacks, specifically not the talking part. My boss starts talking to me, casually, complimenting me on a thing I did, trying to get deeper into the subject matter and asking if I had time to present my proof of concept by the next week. I just kept nodding and walked to the bathroom door. I walked into the bathroom with him still talking. I went into a bathroom stall - he was still talking. So I started going to the bathroom. He stopped talking. During all this, I never said a word."
"My significant other and I like to take our dog to the dog park usually when we both have some time to kill, so Sundays are usually ideal. There is a couple that takes their dog their roughly around the same time (almost every day) as we usually plan to go. They are nice but sometimes you just don't care for small talk. They have even decided on going on a second round just to chat with us. So every time we drive to the park and it is around that time of day we usually look for them walking their dog to the park. We have seen them a handful of times walking to the park and that's when we turn around and walk the neighborhood instead."
"When I started my new job they arranged a welcome lunch so I could meet the team. I chatted with everybody and they all seemed really nice. A couple of days later I was in Topshop on my lunch break having a browse when one of the girls from my team (actually from the Oz office but in London town that week) was in there also browsing. I grabbed the first few items I could find and headed to the changing room to wait it out until she left. I was not ready to make small talk yet!"
"One time I was having dinner in the dining car of an Amtrak train, and since I was alone I was seated with strangers. After about five minutes I realized I was done trying talk to these people, so I ate my prime rib as fast as I could, like a ravenous caveman (I was actually a young woman). When I finished my epic mauling of the meat, I looked up and saw shock and disgust on all if their faces, excused myself and hightailed it out of there."
"I have pretended to be asleep on the subway to avoid riding back to my stop with someone who lives near me. It was going to be a long ride (30 minutes or so) and I didn't want to chit-chat. So I acted like I had been sleeping when she got on and 'woke up' right before my stop. Then I waved for a second and pretended that I was embarrassed to have fallen asleep.
I don't really care how convincing I was, it got me out of the small talk."
"I pay a girl thousands of dollars a month to do it for me. Seriously... I own a business that gets a lot of incoming communications. I get super high anxiety. I almost dumped the whole business for it. Instead, I got an assistant and I pay her very handsomely because she does a spectacular job of shielding me from all of it. I still do quite well. So, win all around.
I tell her all the time how much she means to me. Truly a hero to my sanity."
"I once pretended to have a coughing fit as someone I had gone to high school with approached me at the mall. I wasn't sure if the person was following me to the bathroom, so I kept it going for a solid 3 minutes. People were staring and a lady even walked up and put her hand on my back to ask if I was okay. I basically traded one awkward social interaction in for another."
"I told some telemarketer that was being overly friendly that my dog was on fire and I had to leave. The next day he called me again to see if it was fine and I said my dog was on fire again and he never called back again.
I'd feel bad if he was just a nice person but even when he called back he was trying to sell me stuff and he was like stalker level overly nice."
"The dog likes to bark it's butt off at just the slightest thing. My next door neighbor comes out to put her washing out and the dog goes nuts. It was a toss-up between having to go out and grab the dog and begin a strained conversation with this gossipy old lady or let the dog proclaim her existence to the world for the next 5 minutes.
I hid in the house."
"I was walking to work one day and a guy I can't freakin' stand catches up with me and starts walking alongside. He starts yammering on about what he had to do to fix his parents' PC the day before. Exciting stuff! And it goes on and on and on. Then he stops to tie his shoe. I pause for a second, look at him, and then just keep on walking without saying a word."
"To avoid saying goodbye to the 'Directors' at my workplace (RSL Club), one of which is my girlfriend's grandfather, I've walked 30 meters to the end of the bar or walked down 20 odd steps. I've also worked my way through the back of house cellar and dodgy hallways and caught a lift up 3 levels to the main exit or laughed my way to the car."
"In university, while living in residence, I would hold off going to the floor washroom until midnight or later, just to avoid seeing or having to talk to anybody. I have very bad social anxiety so I would justify this in my head. My one friend was the same, except he would pee in bottles in his room, so he wouldn't have to leave... ya...'my friend'."
"I've told my girlfriend I have to work the holidays so I don't have to spend any time with her family because the small talk of rich white people who don't realize I'm a super broke Latino kills me inside. I also plan on telling my real family the same thing so I can just hide at home and not have to deal with any of the chit-chat."
I got pulled up walking through a mall by someone. They said, 'Have you got a moment to talk about Jesus?'
'Sorry, I'm Jewish.' I'm most definitely not.
'Oh? Have you heard about Jews for Jesus?' I wasn't expecting that and had nothing left to dissuade the guy from further conversation. I just ran.
"I have produced and designed video games for over 15 years. When I go to social engagements I tell people that I'm a custodian to avoid a million questions about video games, or people telling me, 'Oh my God little Johnny would be SO good at testing your games!'"
"Whenever I am walking my dog, people always stop and ask what breed she is. I've started making up breeds with a simple formula of country + food + dog type. My favorites so far have been 'Yemenese Milk Terrier' and 'Mongolian Pork Hound'.
"I volunteer to take semi-professional photos at birthday parties my 4-year-old goes to (including retouching, posting them online, etc,.) for free, just to avoid having to make small talk with the other kid's parents during the party."