Essential life skills – read the room.

Essential life skills. Hmmm. It’s just super if someone claims to be a “dynamic interpersonal communicator” but what does it mean? And who cares? There’s not much use in being a proactive critical thinker if everyone else thinks they’re an absolute pain in the insert body part.

It’s called reading the room, realizing what most people find tiresome and deciding not to do those things. Most of us have this ability, some more than others.

For those that somehow made it this far without acquiring some real life skills, it’s probably time we helped them out. Time to subtly or not so subtly alert them to certain habits that seriously piss everyone else off.

No wave, no soul

Few things fire people up as this monstrously foul act of self importance.

You’re driving along peacefully, maybe humming along to a favorite tune. The world is good. You come to a narrow street. Maybe there’s a line of parked cars or the street is simply narrow. Either way, two cars can’t pass at the same time.

You see another car approaching. Being the ray of sunshine that you are, you indicate for the other car to come through. You don’t mind waiting because it’s selfless acts such as these that hold societies together.

The other car promptly proceeds and as they come to your car, the driver looks straight ahead. They could be anyone. An important man in his 50s, a busy mother, a twenty-something with places to go.

You wait anxiously for a wave, a smile, a toot of the horn – anything will do.

An acknowledgement of your selflessness.

It doesn’t come. No matter who was driving the car is now filthy vermin in your eyes. An outrageously self-centred unflushed turd of a human being.

You stare venomously in the rear view mirror, hoping that maybe one of their wheels comes off or a cement mixer cleans them up.

Either way, you’ve been slighted and suddenly your favorite song isn’t such a toe-tapper.

It’s up to us to spread the word. For the love of God, acknowledge.

Your house, my rules

Now this one could be a little awkward, but fortunately Gustoker isn’t renowned for being overly sensitive. So we’ll happily say it. Besides, it one of those essential life skills.

You invite some people to your house for lunch or dinner. They respond happily – of course, they’d be delighted to come. You all get on like a house on fire.

Then someone reminds you that they have particular dietary needs. These aren’t allergies we’re talking about. These are simply eating choices that exclude meat and fish. The implication is that you, as the host are expected to cater to these needs.

Perfectly okay! It does mean of course, that you’ll have to create another dish to suit them. Along with your famous Bolognese pasta and Argentinian beef empanadas.

No problems whatsoever, the main thing is you all get together. Have a few drinks and plenty of laughs.

As long as when you visit their house, the arrangement is reciprocated. After all, fair’s fair.

A Portuguese fried chicken or butter roasted salmon, on a plate just for you.

No problem.

Ask me a question – just don’t expect one back

The good thing about this social slip-up is that you’ll only have to endure it once. At least with the same person, anyway.

When trying to get to know someone, a useful tactic is to ask them questions. It not only shows interest in them but it’s also polite. It shows a basic knowledge of social etiquette and lack of self-absorption.

However, however…

We’ll sometimes encounter the Question Non-Returner. These people are the dull, self-infatuated dog droppings that send potentially friendly chit chats spiraling into the stinking bowels of cringing hell.

You ask them about their job. Their family. Hobbies, interests. They reply and leave it at that. No return questions whatsoever.

It should be pointed out at this stage that you don’t probably don’t even care. You’re doing them a favour.

Still, you soldier on. The questions become more ridiculous. Have they ever had a pet? If not, do they want one? What time do they usually go to bed on a weeknight?

And on an on it goes until you stop giving a shit.

For life is far too short to waste on someone who isn’t even interested in you pretending to be interested in them.

Cut your losses and move on.

Fast queues are happy queues

This little doozy only really pops up at any place where you have to line up to be served.

A bar, fast food restaurant, a popular café perhaps. If you don’t go to any of these, you’re lucky and probably a little dull.

Peak times produce longer lines and shorter fuses. Waiting in line is a fantastic opportunity to decide what you’ll order when your turn comes. Most of us have a fair idea before we even line up and 95% of us decide for sure while we’re queuing. It’s one of the essential life skills that most of us have worked out by ourselves.

This particularly clueless crime comes about when it’s someone’s turn to order and only then do they start to think about what they’ll have.

“Next please.”

“Okay…so – what do you want? They all look so good….hmmm…”

If you’ve been waiting behind these beasts and overhear stuff like this, your blood inevitably starts to boil. Because what the f*ck were they doing for the past 10 minutes as you all trudged ahead painfully in the queue? They certainly weren’t deciding on their order.

This is surely down to a breathtaking lack of awareness about the mood of those around them. Or arrogance.

Both can be fixed with a few choice words. Unless of course, the offender is bigger than you. In which case, rest easy.

This is so heinous that one day someone even bigger than them will be behind them in the queue. A violent escaped prisoner perhaps, who is short on time and more than happy to provide some much-needed choice words.

I ate something and drank something

A wearying and baffling social indiscretion is the food/drink picture on social media. Anyone posting a photo of something they’re about to eat or drink is criminally unaware of how uninteresting this is to everyone except themselves.

There. We’ve said it.

A frothy glass of beer, the perfect latte, a petite pasta salad. Completely meaningless. What’s worse is most people absently scroll through their feeds, notice the picture of a piece of toast and think I should probably like that, even though I couldn’t give a toss…and like it. Encouraging them.

Many of the people we love dearly are guilty of this and they should be told. You’ll be doing them a favour.

Unless the food picture is genuinely unique, we don’t want to see it. A baby about to eat a 3kg steak, or a piece of pizza with a toenail in it. That kind of thing.

Sorry, it’s just time for some tough love.

Ah, that’s better.



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