Posted by: zenmamajo | January 26, 2011

How to (Not) Win Friends and Creep People Out

how are you in social settings? imagine entering a crowded room full of people – what do you do? work your way around the room or make a beeline for the nearest corner/chair and wait like a 1950’s debutante at a school dance hoping for someone to approach and remain with you for the remainder of the social?

*insert raised hand here* i’m the latter…i almost always plan my ‘out’ before the party…i love sitting in one spot and clinging to whoever happens to approach me. popping from person to person – jumping from conversation to conversation is an art form i’ve yet to master.

*sigh* so i’ve (grudgingly) come to terms that i am socially awkward…

i recently came across an office space clip about inappropriate questions. all that was missing from the scene was me! i’ve asked people:

– the square footage/cost of their home
– if they were pregnant when they weren’t (have done this at least three times – i just don’t learn!)
– if they were foreign because i thought i detected an accent but really they were just congested
– if their child was adopted
– pointed out stuff in their teeth
– asked someone i just met if there was something in my teeth
– heck: i even let loose a SBD (silent but deadly…) on a first date! (married to him 7 years later, but still – the indecency! some people sweat or have an increased heart rate when they are nervous: i gas! *ugh*)

while this directness may seem inappropriate – i have found it is possible to maintain this personality if it is executed properly. here are some steps in asking candid questions without creeping people out:

1. Timing – this is crucial! It’s all about when you ask your question and who else is around. i find people often willing answer questions i ask if it’s one-on-one.
2. Be genuine! Really care about the answer and person. Keep the focus on that individual.
3. Rejection. Rarely does this happen to me because of the first two tips. But there are times when someone simply cannot answer a question for legal or personnel reasons and i respect being denied! (even if i’m dying to know!)

i found that following these tips allows me to ask seemingly invasive questions (really it’s my own curiosity) and people often answer them and share interesting things about themselves.

“what about the SBDs? i share the same issues in public…”

my advice? find a nice cushioned chair that can “absorb” your secret and stay there! when the conversation ends try to make a quick exit (preferably when others are nearby). it may also help to meander through the crowd (if there is one) so people will be confused by any offense odors rather than know it’s you.

i know gross. but desperate times calls for desperate measures.

so – to my fellow socially challenged peeps: take heart! we may not ever become the life of the party, but the tips presented can help us enjoy our social experiences without creeping folks out and remain true to ourselves. :o)


  1. I think I spoke with you at the last social gathering I was at . . . weren’t you the one one who pointed out the birth mark next to my left eye and tried to wipe it off? 😉

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