Wednesday, March 11, 2015

6 Things You Do that Everyone Hates

Sure, you think you are a fairly likable person--you say please and thank you, open doors for others, you're easy to get along with, a veritable breath of fresh air for the world around you. I don't want to burst your bubble, but the odds are stacked against you that you are, in fact, doing things that the rest of us hate. Loathe. Despise. Maybe you don't cut in line, burn popcorn in the break room microwave at work for the whole office to smell, or leave wet towels on the floor of your home. Think you're in the clear? Think again. Please consider this a public service announcement: if you are doing any of the following things, the rest of us reserve the right to out-and-out hate you:

Showing us all those "adorable" pictures on your cell phone. It doesn't matter if it's your kid, your cat, your vacation, or your friend Joe's birthday party: no one really wants to attend that slide show you are about to start swiping on your iPhone. Nothing strikes fear into my heart like when I'm talking to someone and I accidentally trigger a cell phone photo sharing session. You see, dear picture-showing fool, the rest of us are obligated to pretend to be engaged in these images, and to politely comment, even though we aren't especially connected to what you're showing us (if we were, we probably wouldn't need a visual). As a good rule of thumb, don't show more than one picture. An even better rule would be to never show any pictures unless you are specifically (and enthusiastically) asked, but do what you must.

Talking on your phone while in a public bathroom. Again with the phones, people. I don't especially love enduring someone's running commentary while I'm trying to do what I need to do in the next stall. Can't there be just a few places left that are holy ground and cell phone-free? Can't one of those be the (public) porcelain throne? Even if you don't care about the strangers in the adjacent stalls hearing your conversation, consider the poor person on the other end of the line. There is no subject in the world that is made better by being punctuated by a toilet flush.

Complaining about your weight loss, especially if you have actually lost weight. Have you been known to wistfully complain, "I only lost two pounds this week?" I'm telling you this one for safety's sake--your own personal safety. Because one day you are going to bemoan having to get a size six skinny jeans instead of a four and some hungry, calorie-deprived person who is on an actual diet is going to throttle you with all the strength they have left in their rice cake-ridden body. Keep the fact that you have gained a half a pound to yourself, or you may wind up on the receiving end of a Weight Watchers lynch mob.

Giving us the hard sell on Facebook. I am so glad that your job selling skincare products, essential oils, eyelash extensions, weight loss miracles, Tupperware, and the like has you so ecstatic, but I don't need you to tell me 17 times a day how life-changing your products are, or that joining your "team" will fulfill me in ways I never knew possible. I remember scoffing when my one of my marketing classes taught us the half nelson sales closing technique, but some of you are giving the full-on virtual body slam. Live the dream, and if it is that awe-inspiring, people will take notice and actually ask you for some information. At the very least, pepper in some other updates or witty banter that are not straight from Willy Loman's repertoire.

Lingering at someone's table while they are having dinner in a restaurant. You're walking by a table, and suddenly, you see people you know. Please resist the urge to stand over these poor, hungry people, talking endlessly while their food slowly turns into cold leftovers. A quick hello is excellent, a very short conversation is acceptable, and let's just remember that mama always said to leave them wanting more. I would also like to add that, should you ignore this warning and overstay your welcome, while showing pictures on your phone and/or trying to peddle the "amazing" new products you have been lucky enough to start selling, you will go straight to Most Hated status--do no pass go, do not collect $200. Stop pretending you are the mayor or the welcome wagon and be on your merry way.

Asking when someone is going to have a baby. For me, this is the worst of the worst. Even though your intentions may be good, you are essentially inquiring into someone's most personal business that includes their marriage, finances, reproductive organs, and sex life--and no one wants to just give that information out in polite chit chat. I have been asked this question by everyone from my dental hygienist to my mailman, and it's just never appropriate. I am also aware that having said baby isn't even enough to stop this line of questioning, since I have witnessed some of you take a look at friends' red, wrinkled, newborns and then turn to them and ask, "When are you going to have another one?" While most of us appreciate the fact that you seem to be desperate for us to multiply at the quickest possible rate, we'd all just as soon not give out a timeline for it to happen.

There are, of course, many other offenses that are commonplace in society today that will inevitably cause people to hate you, but there's no need to overwhelm ourselves with trying to achieve perfection all at once (we've circled back to that "leave them wanting more" advice again). In the spirit of harmony, let's say we all start with these simple six and then take it from there, shall we? If you really want a bonus, just use an abundance of caution around danger zones like regifting, express checkout lanes, replying to group emails (hint: please, for the love of all that is holy, do not "reply all" unless we all really need to see your reply), and giving advice (if it's free, it's usually worth what you pay for it).

And just like that, we're at least a half dozen steps closer to achieving world peace.