It doesn’t matter – you could be as sociable as Jay Leno with a few martinis in his gut – there are certain times when you’ll just feel inclined to avoid human life, by any means necessary.
It doesn’t make you a bad person, in fact, I think it's healthy to remove yourself from social obligation from time to time. I mean, c’mon. There’s nothing creepier than that dude who seems to love everything – and everybody – at all times, even on postal holidays.
Sometimes you’re just not in the mood to speak to someone, and you probably have your own tricks to successfully avoid doing so. We all do.
For me, that “trick” is a pair of big, loud, Beats by Dre (yeah, hello Apple marketing team, notice the product placement).
During the entire duration of my work days, I’ll wear a large pair of headphones, usually bumping some deep tech song with the bass booming – and people will generally know not to try and exchange any banter with me.
While some people’s tolerance for small talk might be greater than others, there’s a special sect of people who nobody, EVER, wants to run into and converse with. I will say, sometimes it’s unavoidable.
The block is a crowded place, especially in big cities like Manhattan, and there will come times when you’ll be forced to bite the bullet, instead of your tongue, and schmooze with these characters.
But there are other times, those times you're fortunate enough to spot them off in the distance, when you can put your head down – and hope to God that they didn't see you.
If you don’t know the types of people I’m referring to, it’s straight, I’ve listed them or you. Here are the eight people you will always put your head down for, and try to avoid, when passing them in the street.
8. Your best friend's ex-girlfriend.
If you spot your boy’s ex-piece out in the distance – and manage to pass by her inconspicuously – consider yourself one of the lucky few. Usually, this type of thing turns into a "stop and chat" (h/t Larry David) except, before long, it will inevitably assume the form of a stop and interrogate.
If you see her – trust me – she don't like you. Not one bit. Prepare yourself for the barrage of questions that you’ll be asked, all of which tend to cater to the same premise: your boy (aka her ex-boyfriend).
Things such as your homie’s current employment situation, his sex life and even whether or not he’s gained some unwanted weight in the facial region. Just avoid her at all costs, regardless of where.
7. Your "guy" from the deli.
Of course, you love your “guy” from the deli. Hell, he loves you – even though you’ve never seen the man’s torso before – as your relationship is exclusively confined to opposite sides of a deli counter.
Still, you’re at the point in your relationship where you don’t even have to tell him your order – he already knows, and starts assembling your "signature sandwich" as soon as he sees you saunter through the door.
He’s the only other person on earth who knows the perfect amount of Russian to apply to your chicken cutlet – and even throws an extra pickle spear or two into your brown bag along with an ear-to-ear smile, to go.
And while you two might very well be thick as thieves within the realms of said delicatessen, you don’t want to risk ruining what you have going inside those four walls by extending your friendship outside of them and into the “real world.” Pass him, and act like you were answering a text.
6. Your childhood friend, who you stopped speaking to after some argument... that you can't really remember at the moment.
“Ohhh, Tom, who was my best friend in 4th grade until we had that huge falling out over... uhh… I can’t really remember at the moment.”
We all have our own Tom, and while the two of you might’ve shared an old flame of best-friendship, back in middle school, you know deep down that some things are best left in the past. And Tom, or any interaction with Tom, is certainly no exception.
Think about it – what in God’s name would you even talk about? The last time you hung out with that kid, you both thought girls were gross. So, unless you’re going to buy a 12-pack of Capri Sun, Google “hey arnold free stream” – and do it the right way – it’s best to just avoid any awkward rekindling.
5. Your aunt, or any other of your second degree family members.
It’s not that you necessarily dislike seeing your aunt unexpectedly, it’s just more so that you don’t particularly like to see her – there’s a big difference.
I know she’s family, but there’s a time and place for everything, and that’s why God invented holidays and e-mail chain letters (amiright?). Walking down the street on your lunch break allows very little extra time to see Aunt Betty – or answer her 15 questions revolving around why it is you’re still single.
Thus, you’ll make pretend you never saw her – and if it comes up in passing conversation around the dinner table next Thanksgiving – you just “deny ‘til you die” without the tiniest speck of hesitation.
4. A family friend, of any proportion.
Now, “family friends” aren’t called so by any great coincidence. Take a look at the term, itself. They’re FAMILY friends – or, otherwise, “friends of the FAMILY.”
Not you. Because, see – if they were your friends – you’d probably just call them regular old "friends," and skip on the whole "family" prefix altogether.
But they’re not – they’re “family friends” – which places them among the the lowest class of friendship, maybe a notch or two above that ex-girlfriend whom you still get coffee with.
3. The girl you're messaging on Tinder.
You’re definitely going to want to avoid the girl you’re courting on Tinder if you run into each other on the street – especially since you just told her, maybe 20 minutes ago, that you were messaging her from a WiFi hotspot off the coastline of the French Riviera.
Like, of course that was a lie!! It’s TINDER, for Christ’s sake, it's not like your hand is nestled on a stack of Bibles.
That’s the beauty of dating apps in the first place, and why you’re boundlessly swiping right on Tinder – and not at some dive bar having face-to-face conversations with real-life women.
You can lie on Tinder. In fact, you’re supposed to lie. Just make sure you’re careful about it. One awkward encounter in the real world can completely shatter your virtually-fabricated-charm. That’s all I’m saying. Keep your head on a swivel, all right?
2. Your ex-coworker who got fired.
Yo! There are few things more awkward than bumping into an ex-coworker who got fired while strolling down the block for your morning cigarette and coffee.
Especially when you’re wearing, like, work clothes, and they’re sporting some plaid pajama pants – despite the fact that they were laid off like six months ago.
There’s not going to be a lot to talk about if you go ahead and try and “ride out” this “conversational storm,” so to speak.
If he or she did happen to find work, surely you’ll congratulate him or her on the new job – and pretend that it’s a huge upgrade from his or her old one – which, yeah, happens to be your current job.
It’s awkward, I promise, just pretend you’re on the phone or feeling for some key in your pocket in a state of utter panic.
1. The girl you banged once, sloppily, and possibly regrettably.
Well, for starters, although you did successfully have sex with this women, you also failed to get her name. So, unless you’re prepared to greet her with an, “ohhh, hey… you,” it would probably behoove both of your integrities to just pass her by without any acknowledgement.
I mean, let’s be real here, if you actually lusted for some type of relationship with this chick – you probably would’ve taken her phone number, at some point in time.
But, as it happens, you didn’t, and she’s probably going to ask you why you fled her apartment while she slept, rather early on.
Therefore, if you didn’t think it was all that necessary to speak the morning after you had sex – the way I see things – it would only make less sense to do so a few MONTHS afterward.
Turn the other way and keep walking, champion.