I’m a Writer at lifehack.org Now

A few weeks ago I applied, and was accepted, to be one of the writers at lifehack.org. Below are the first four articles I wrote for them. All four of these are article ideas and titles that the lifehack guys came up with, and I just wrote, but I also have a couple of my own article ideas pitched to them, waiting for approval. Plus I’ve completed a couple of other articles for them which are waiting to be edited and published.

It’s not a paid position, but it is good exposure – the first article I wrote for them, (the beach one), which was published on 29 May, has received over 60,000 shares at the time of writing this. They won’t all be like that, the supermarket one which was published three days later has only received about 150 shares. I say “only” but if one of my posts on this blog was shared 150 times, I’d be thrilled to bits! There’s a wide variance in how much the lifehack.org articles are shared, you just never know which ones will snowball. The most recent one, about fearless mindsets, which was published on Saturday seems to be starting quite strongly with several hundred shares so far in the first couple of days.

Aside from the exposure, and probably more importantly for me, it’s a good writing discipline because I’m writing to a spec and to a deadline, so it keeps me writing, and I’m finding it all very enjoyable.  I also have to search out the photos to accompany the articles, and so far this has taken me longer than the actual writing, trying to find the ideal photo each time, but hopefully I’ll get quicker on that. Anyway, here are the four so far, in the order they were published, if you fancy reading any of them…

18 Things Only People Who Live By The Beach Understand
Girl on beach

It Is Now Illegal For Supermarkets To Throw Away Food In France
French supermarket

24 Old English Terms You Should Start Using Again

10 Ways To Teach Your Kids To Have A Fearless Mindset


Photo credits: on individual linked article pages.

Body Parts Have Love and Hate Things Too

Hands and feet

A few people, like Amy and Mark have been doing this 10 things I love/10 things I hate, thing. I’ve done similar lists on here before, so I thought I’d go for a bit of a different take on it this time with things I love and hate for my feet and hands. Why feet and hands you may ask? No good reason, it just came to me. I’ve gone for 5 each of each for both giving a total of 20 things, which is the same as the general list 10 of each x 2, also giving 20 things (did you follow that? No? Never mind).

5 Things I love for my feet

1. Walking them through warm sand up to water’s edge to get that first feel of the water lapping up on them.
2. Taking shoes off after a long day and wiggling my toes.
3. Trying on a pair of fabulous shoes in a shop and looking at them in those little low mirrors.
4. Pulling warm fluffy socks on over cold feet.
5. A foot massage done on myself (is that weird?).

5 Things I hate for my feet

1. Blisters.
2. Shoes that are too tight and need to be kept on for hours because I’m already out somewhere by the time I realise they’re too tight.
3. Accidentally stepping barefoot on something sharp and painful.
4. Standing in something unpleasant like doggy doo, and then the job of cleaning it off my shoes later.
5. Getting an itch on the sole of my foot that can’t be scratched to satisfaction.

5 Things I love for my hands

1. Rubbing a really good hand cream into them so that they’re soft but not greasy.
2. Freshly painting my nails when I’ve managed to not bite my them for a while and they’ve grown lovely.
3. Holding someone else’s hand.
4. Stroking something soft, like fur (just to clarify, I mean while it’s still on a live animal!).
5. Pressing certain buttons that are particularly satisfying in feel, firm but smooth, a little click at the end.

5 Things I hate for my hands

1. When I bite my nails.
2. When I get a little cut on the end of a finger and it hurts ridiculously too much for the size of it, and continues to hurt and get in the way for too many days.
3. When I’m unprepared for a colder than expected day and my gloveless fingers get so painfully cold that they won’t work properly.
4. When I’m cleaning up something yucky and a bit of it gets on my hand – ugh!
5. When they’re being uncooperative in a fiddly task I want them to do.

Any body parts you’d like to do a love and hate listing for? (Keep it clean!)

Photo credit: Faceless Bunny and Kitty by Helga Weber

I Don’t Have a Kevin and I Don’t Know How Much Broccoli Weighs

Closed cup mushroom

From what I understand, online supermarket shopping is much more popular in the UK than in many other places, most of the big supermarkets here now deliver to most of the country. So I thought I’d give a little run down of what it’s like for those of you who might not have experienced it. Personally I’m a huge fan – from the comfort of your home, you just click a few keys on your keyboard and voila! Next thing you know, a nice man arrives on your doorstep with your week’s shopping, and all you have to do is flash him a smile and then put your groceries away. What’s not to love?

You generally get a bit of a laugh and banter with the friendly delivery drivers too, so that adds to the enjoyment of the experience. One time, two delivery guys arrived, one was in training I learned, and when I answered the door, the other one pointed at him and said “He’s the one who sounds like your Kevin!” and they both laughed raucously, so I laughed raucously too even though I didn’t have the slightest idea what they were talking about. I don’t have a Kevin. Most of the time though I do understand what it is that we’re all laughing about so that’s good.

Of course it’s not all plain sailing. Sometimes you can spend as long doing your online order as you would physically going to the supermarket, especially the first few times you do it. But navigating the website isn’t the biggest issue.

One of the issues is substitutions. Just because a product is in stock at the time you place the order doesn’t mean it will still be in stock at the time they pack your order, so in most deliveries you get at least one substitution. Usually their substitutions make sense – a different brand of the same product, or a different variety, or a different pack size. Sometimes they’re a bit strange though, once when the toothpaste I had ordered was out of stock they substituted a toothbrush instead, and another time I ordered hamster food and they substituted rabbit food. It’s ok though, you can refuse the substitutions at the door if they’re not suitable. But substitutions aren’t the biggest issue either.

The biggest issue is pack sizes and weights. It’s not until you start ordering groceries online that you realise how much you shop for food by assessing quantities visually. Suddenly you’re being called upon to say how much broccoli you want by weight – I don’t know, I just want one head of broccoli. What does that weigh? Does anyone know? Everyone who regularly orders groceries online will have funny stories of quantities being much more or much less than they had expected when they ordered. The photo of the mushroom at the top of this page was from one of my recent orders, I thought I was selecting one pack of mushrooms, but when it arrived it was just the one mushroom. I always think the packers must derive great amusement when they’re putting the orders together, knowing perfectly well that you probably didn’t want enough bacon to feed a small nation for a month, or a block of cheese the size of a dice.

For me though, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives, I still pop into supermarkets in person for bits and top ups, but my big shops are mainly online now.

Do you do any supermarket shopping online? If so, please do share your funny weight/pack size stories, I know you’ll have some!

I would have way more time to do cool stuff if I didn’t spend so long…

Gogglebox Steph and Dom

I would have more time to receive baking certificates from Gogglebox’s Steph and Dom (This won’t be impressive to those of you outside of the UK I know, but trust me, Steph and Dom are cool!)

Ever wonder why you don’t have more time to do all the really cool stuff you want to do? These are some of the time-wasting things that stop me doing more of the cool stuff I’m doing in the photos…

– Looking for my keys.
– Looking for a pen.
– Looking for my phone.
– Untangling wires and wondering why the world isn’t more wireless by now.
– Trying to decide what to wear.
– Lamenting over having nothing to wear.
– Trying to decide what to eat.
– Trying to decide what to watch on Netflix.

Still from a film

I would have more time to be in films like this one (yes that’s me in the dark glasses). It’s uncanny how we look EXACTLY like the girls from Sex and the City right?

– Pairing socks (and wondering why socks from the same pairing age at different rates).
– Sitting in traffic (in the car you understand).
– Trying to entice my cats to come indoors (and believing that reasoning with them will help).
– Waiting for things to stop buffering.
– Waiting on hold on the phone (and making increasingly loud scoffing noises each time the recording tells me how important my call is to them).
– Answering unwanted marketing calls (and wishing I was brave enough to do some of those joke things people do to those callers).
– Trying to decide what to read and changing my mind too many times, thus cutting into my actual reading time.

Dog selfie

I would have more time to take selfies with dogs. I don’t have a dog, but taking selfies with other people’s dogs is cool.

– Playing with the settings on my phone, and then changing them back to the settings I had in the first place.
– Staring at envelopes that come in the mail for me for far too long trying to work out who they might be from before actually opening them.
– Rummaging through the freezer hoping there might be a tub of Ben & Jerry’s I’d forgotten about in there.
– Rummaging through the kitchen cupboards hoping there might be some chocolate I’d forgotten about in there.
– Rummaging through various jacket pockets and bags hoping there might be some cash I’d forgotten about so that I can go and buy ice-cream and chocolate…unless…let me just go check the freezer again, I didn’t actually pull the drawers right out and look behind them…

Vanessa and Neil in front of tractor

I would have more time to sit in front of tractors (yes, sitting in front of tractors IS cool. Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it!)

– Looking at YouTube videos of cats and dogs doing cute and hilarious things…oh no wait, that IS one of the cool things I wish I had more time to do.
– Examining clothes scattered on my kids’ bedroom floors, trying to figure out if they are for the laundry or the wardrobe.
– Looking at stationery, imagining what I could write in those gorgeous hardback notebooks, or store in those beautiful files, oh and look at that textured paper, and that cute little set of art deco patterned paper clips! (come on, who doesn’t love stationery?).
– Planning little projects at home that I know I will never get around to.
– Googling trivia that neither matters, nor will be retained by me.
– Writing grocery shopping lists that will have completely disappeared by the time I actually need them, only to resurface after the shopping is done.

Camel balls

I would have more time to scour the shops for hilarious candy like this.

What time-wasting things stop you from spending more time doing really cool stuff?

“Once I’m done with kindergarten, I’m going to find me a wife.” — Tom, age 5

Kids kiss on nose

This is another of those sharing-something-funny-I-found-on-the-internet-rather-than-writing-my-own-stuff posts, and also, stringing-the-words-of-a-sentence-together-with-hyphens-to-make-it-seem-like-a-thing. Sourced from here, we have thoughts on love from kids. Take note, we could learn a lot from these kids…

  • “Spend most of your time loving instead of going to work.” — Dick, age 7
  • “Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough.” — Lynnette, age 8
  • “Tell your wife that she looks pretty even if she looks like a truck!” — Ricky, age 7
  • “Don’t forget your wife’s name. That will mess up the love.” — Erin, age 8
  • “Sensitivity don’t hurt.” — Robbie, age 8
  • “Be a good kisser. It might make your wife forget that you never take out the trash.” — Erin, age 8
  • “Don’t say you love somebody and then change your mind. Love isn’t like picking what movie you want to watch.” — Natalie, age 9
  • “If falling in love is anything like learning how to spell, I don’t want to do it. It takes too long.” — Glenn, age 7
  • “Love is like an avalanche where you have to run for your life.” — John, age 9
  • “I think you’re supposed to get shot with an arrow or something, but the rest of it isn’t supposed to be so painful.” — Manuel, age 8
  • “No one is sure why it happens, but I heard it has something to do with how you smell. That’s why perfume and deodorant are so popular.” — Mae, age 9
  • “Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good too.” — Greg, age 8

Kitten hugging dog

  • “Once I’m done with kindergarten, I’m going to find me a wife.” — Tom, age 5
  • “On the first date, they just tell each other lies, and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date.” — Mike, 10
  • “I’m in favor of love as long as it doesn’t happen when Dinosaurs is on television.” — Jill, age 6
  • “One of the people has freckles, and so he finds somebody else who has freckles too.” — Andrew, age 6
  • “My mother says to look for a man who is kind. That’s what I’ll do. I’ll find somebody who’s kinda tall and handsome.” — Carolyn, age 8
  • “It gives me a headache to think about that stuff. I’m just a kid. I don’t need that kind of trouble.” — Kenny, age 7
  • “One of you should know how to write a check. Because, even if you have tons of love, there is still going to be a lot of bills.” — Ava, age 8
  • “When somebody’s been dating for a while, the boy might propose to the girl. He says to her, ‘I’ll take you for a whole life, or at least until we have kids and get divorced.’” — Anita, 9
  • “I’m not rushing into being in love. I’m finding fourth grade hard enough.” — Regina, age 10
  • “Most men are brainless, so you might have to try more than once to find a live one.” — Angie, age 10
  • “A man and a woman promise to go through sickness and illness and diseases together.” — Marlon, age 10
  • “[Being] single is better . . . for the simple reason that I wouldn’t want to change no diapers. Of course, if I did get married, I’d figure something out. I’d just phone my mother and have her come over for some coffee and diaper-changing.” — Kirsten, age 10
  • “Love is foolish…but I still might try it sometime.” — Floyd, age 9
  • “Love will find you, even if you are trying to hide from it. I been trying to hide from it since I was five, but the girls keep finding me.” — Dave, age 8

Can you remember what you thought about love when you were a kid?

Mike, I’ve Done That Doodle I Promised!

Doodle by Vanessa

Last week when I was lamenting over losing my blogging mojo, Mike Allegra, aka heylookawriterfellow commented that sometimes when he loses his blogging mojo, doing a doodle-centric post can help, he suggested I might try that, his words were:

“Maybe you should doodle? C’mon. Let’s see a doodle.”

So I doodled. Clearly I don’t have Mike’s artistic abilities. What he describes as doodles with his own work are so much more than what I would call a doodle. If you haven’t seen his doodles, there is a little selection of them on this recent post of his, including one he did for me a while back. Mine is what I call a doodle – random squiggles and lines.

I occasionally do a doodle like this one I’ve done here. I tend to avoid tasks that require a lot of time and patience, but doing one of these requires both of those, so it’s a good exercise in discipline for me, and it’s quite relaxing and therapeutic too. I often give them a theme, this one’s theme if you haven’t figured it out already is – hello in different languages. Apologies to the languages I didn’t include. I even included a “Hi Mike” in this one – can you find it? What else can you find in there? Why am I sounding like a kids’ TV presenter?

What I lack in artistic ability, I perhaps make up for in effort – you can at least appreciate the effort that’s gone into this right?!

Do you doodle? If you do doodle, what type of doodle do you doodle do? 

Losing Your Blogging Mojo

Vanessa looking in trees

Me looking for my blogging mojo. Yes, that’s right, it’s a recycled pic from when I was looking for other people’s mojos. See, I don’t even have the mojo to get a new pic!

Some time back I wrote a post about people losing their blogging mojo. At the time I hadn’t lost mine, I was just observing that others had. Now I kind of have lost mine, and I don’t like it! Most people who have been blogging for a while will have gone through this at some point – the ideas for posts aren’t as forthcoming, the thought of going to read and comment on lots of other blogs can feel like a chore, there are unanswered comments on previous posts you’ve written that you keep putting off answering. You suddenly have lots of excuses for why you’re simply too busy to engage with blogging, even though you know perfectly well that you were just as busy before, but still made time for it. Some disappear completely from blogging, others find their mojo again; I really hope I’m in the latter group.

The reason it matters to me is that I love the blogging community, we strike up these online friendships by reading each other’s posts and interacting in the comments, and sometimes we take it off-board too. And aside from that I always feel a little excited with anticipation when I hit “publish” on a post to see what people will say in response. And I care about my blogging friends. I’ve still been doing some light touch reading of many of your posts, so I know some of you are going through some hard times, and some of you are doing some exciting new things, and I want to make time to come by and comment, and yet I haven’t.

I don’t think I’ve ever properly got back into the swing of it since I took a half-break finishing my studies last year. Being fully engaged with blogging is full-on, you have to post regularly, and when I say regularly, I’ve only ever tended towards one post a week, there are many others who blog several times a week. You also have to visit and comment on other blogs very regularly, or you do if you want those reciprocal visits and comments. When you step back from it a little, even for just a few weeks, it can be tricky to immerse back into it fully, you suddenly feel like an outsider with your nose pressed against the window looking in. The longer you leave it, the more it feels like a big mountain to climb, as if you somehow have to catch up with everything rather than just start swimming again from where you are (no, I’m not sure what windows, mountains and swimming have to do with each other either). I’ve also got a few different things going on in my life at the moment, nothing bad or major, good things, but they’re taking my focus, or maybe again that’s just an excuse.

Anyway, I’m not the first blogger to write a lamenting post of this type, and I’m sure I won’t be the last, but just to say – I’m still here, I’m fine, I apologise for not commenting on your blogs lately, and I really hope to start “feeling it” again soon. If there’s a particular post you’ve done lately that you’d like me to see, please do leave a link to it in the comments – don’t be shy, you’ll be helping to ease me back in.

Will O’ the Wisp

Vanessa pointing at Will O the Wisp book

Today I’m joined by blogging author friend extraordinaire, Craig Boyack. He’s here to talk about his wonderful latest novel, Will O’ The Wisp. Well he thinks he’s here to talk about that, but we’ll have to see how that works out. Welcome Craig!

Thanks Vanessa. What did you mean we’ll have to see how that works out?

Don’t worry about that. Now, I thought it would be fun for us to do a little activity while we chat. So, if I say “Book” to you, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind?



But you asked for the first thing that comes to my mind.

I know I did Craig, and you got it wrong. Try again.



Ok Vanessa, well why don’t you tell me what the first thing is to come to my mind when you say “Book”?



Yes baking. Book begins with ‘b’, baking begins with ‘b’. You and I both like baking. So books make you think of baking. See how it all makes sense now?

Well…er…I guess so.

So we’re going to bake some bread rolls while we chat, yay! Come on Craig, let’s get stuck in. You measure out the flour and tell me this – In Will O’ the Wisp, your protagonist Patty Hall is fifteen years old, but what were you doing when you were fifteen?

Patty is about a year older than I was at the time the book is set. I’m also from a small agricultural area, but it was all ranching in my hometown. We used to camp under the stars, and watching satellites was a regular thing. My friends and I were very close, and there are similarities in the story. Patty wasn’t a band geek, but I was.

Ok great, now you measure out the rest of the ingredients and start mixing it all together while you tell us something about yourself that you’ve never mentioned on your blog, and then you can start kneading the dough.

That’s quite a challenge, because I’m pretty open. I’ve discussed medical issues and all kinds of things. As a blogger, I’m always looking for something to post about. I’m going to have to go back in time for this one. In 1990, I was in the desert northwest of Las Vegas. I found a desert bighorn skull and brought it home. I used one horn to make some pretty grips for a Colt six shooter I own. My brother and I worked on them together, and I treasure them.

Gosh! Now come on, I said to start kneading the dough.

Out of interest, which part of making the rolls are you actually doing Vanessa?

It’s not about who does which part, it’s about sharing the experience. Now come on, put some effort in, and then you can leave the dough to rise. While you’re doing that, I’d like you to select three adjectives to describe your book.

Only three? Here we go: suspenseful, magical, and thrilling.

Rather like making these bread rolls with me then. Don’t forget to time the rising of the dough, then it’ll need a second rising after you’ve shaped it into rolls. I always say you can tell a lot about a man by how he shapes his rolls. Also by what he has on his desk, so tell me something you have on your desk that doesn’t really belong on a desk?

I have a live shamrock on my desk. I also have a couple of stress balls, but those probably belong there.

I was going to guess a shamrock and stress balls! I’m very intuitive like that Craig. Now, every story has some kind of moral, so what would you say is the moral of your story?

Me? Write a story with a moral? This is a coming of age story, and it’s a very big part of the story. Patty has to deal with all the issues any teenager has to deal with, plus deal with something that wants to kill her. She isn’t allowed to hide behind her parents and let them deal with her problem. The moral is that nothing good can happen until the hero acts. I know two specific people who could benefit from less analysis of problems and more action, so I’ll stand by that moral.

That’s an excellent moral, exactly what I would expect from a shamrock and stress balls type of guy. Right, I’ve saved the best question till last. This one will take some thinking about, so you can finish off making the rolls and putting them in the oven while you think. I want you to choose one sentence, just one, from Will O’ the Wisp that you think will really pique people’s interest.

Ouch, Vanessa. You said these would be challenging, but I thought it was in a “ha ha, let’s have a drink” kind of way. I pride myself on short direct sentences too. Here you go:

“The tea leaves left the shape of a perfect open book, like someone pushed them that way with a spoon.”

Ooh, intriguing. Let’s have a look at those rolls now…

Vanessa and Craig with bread rolls

Well Craig, seeing as you were such a good bread roll making assistant, I will now let you give us the book blurb and relevant links.

Thank you Vanessa, here goes…

There is something evil up Bergamot Holler, and it’s been targeting the Hall family for generations.

Patty Hall is fifteen years old. She loves stargazing, science fiction, and all things related to space exploration. This leaves her perfectly prepared for the wrong problem.

Patty is afraid her mother will send her to a care facility if she tells her what she’s seen. If she doesn’t figure things out soon, she’s going to join her father in the Hall family cemetery plot.

Patty has to come to grips with her own physical handicap, survive the wilderness, and face an ancient evil all alone if she’s going to survive.

Will O’ the Wisp is suitable for young adults. It involves strong elements of suspense, and is set in the mid 1970s.

– Follow my blog: http://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com

– Check out my novels here: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00ILXBXUY

– Follow me on Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/Virgilante

– On Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9841203.C_S_Boyack

– Buy Will O’ the Wisp here (for those in Northern American Continent) http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00UPH6BNS

– Buy Will O’ the Wisp here (Rest of the world) http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00UQNDT2C

What fun we’ve had today, thanks for coming by Craig.

Thank you Vanessa.

Homophobia and Suicide

Matt and Naz
On 30 July 2014, my (real life) friend Matt lost his partner of 13 years, Naz, to suicide. Two days earlier Naz had emotionally “admitted he was gay” to his family. Naz had felt unable to tell them before that because of their religious beliefs.

Matt was determined to make some good come of this tragedy, and has campaigned tirelessly since then to raise awareness of the devastating human impact caused by religion-based homophobia. He set up the Naz & Matt Foundation, now a registered charity, to provide free support to LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Intersex) individuals, their friends and family, to help resolve challenges linked to sexuality or gender identity, particularly where a religion is directing the situation.

Matt is a peaceful campaigner, he is not looking to spread hate, just understanding, love, and acceptance. Matt has appeared on both BBC news and Sky news to talk about the Naz and Matt Foundation, and Naz and Matt’s story was published in The Guardian last Saturday. The least I could do was to give him a platform here to talk about their latest project.

Matt, over to you…

Thank you Vanessa. To highlight the issues to the wider public, and encourage them to take action, we are planning a 130 mile, 8 day sponsored journey from London to Birmingham in April this year. “The Journey to Find Acceptance”, will carry a message of love and acceptance as we travel through each town along the way. The majority of the journey will be walked. We will be filming the journey as we engage with religious communities in each town that we walk through – to gauge public opinion and explore individual attitudes towards acceptance if their own children were to come out as being gay.

Matt with camera strapped on head

Matt trying out his film equipment for the walk

Do you have a plan for the journey Matt?

We have a rough plan, it may change as we finalise the details:

Friday 17th April (evening) – London
Opening Party at Club Kali

Saturday 18th April (meet 10am, 11am start) – London
Start of walk – from West Hampstead Cemetery

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 19th-23nd April
The main journey, travelling through Hendon, Watford, Luton, Milton Keynes, Milton Manor (Northamptonshire), Rugby and Coventry

Friday 24th April (evening) – Birmingahm
Closing party at Saathi Night (@Nightingales)

Saturday 25th April (approx 10.30am) – Birmingham
Final walking leg of walk, from the Nightingale Club to Handsworth Cemetery

We will celebrate all the beautiful people who have struggled, and continue to struggle, to find acceptance from their families and the communities they live in. And to remember the life and soul of Naz (Dr Nazim Mahmood) who spent his whole life helping other people.

Matt and Naz on a sunny day

That sounds like quite a journey Matt. How can people help?

There are a few ways people can help:

1) They can join us for any part of the journey, particularly the start in London on 18th April. Please dress fabulous or in drag to make a statement! Like our Facebook page to keep updated on plans for the journey.

2) They can sponsor the journey through JustGiving – follow the ‘Donate’ link on the Naz & Matt Foundation site.

3) They can help spread the word in any way they choose.

Thank you for coming by to tell us about this Matt. I knew Naz to be an incredibly kind, generous, warm-hearted man, and it’s a truly wonderful thing you’re doing here in his memory. I wish you all the luck in the world.

Thank you Vanessa, and thank you for having us here.

Matt and Naz's initials in the sand

Four Things An Introvert has Trouble Dealing With

Introvert hiding in a sweater

I’ll be fine just here, thank you.

Many of us in the land of blog have declared ourselves to be introverts. These are a few of the ways that my own introversion manifests itself in my day-to-day life. Can you relate to any of these?

1) You’re in a small group situation. Finally you’ve not only managed to think of something to say (a feat in itself), but plucked up the courage to actually say it. You wait for a pause, start, and one of the following things happens:

  • Someone else starts talking at the exact same second that you start. You immediately stop talking and berate yourself severely for getting it wrong.
  •  You’re mid sentence and someone else in the group interrupts you. At this stage it’s not so easy for you to stop talking. You’d given yourself the pep talk – Come on, you can do it, just start talking, stop being silly, just do it!, you’d launched into it, and now you’re into the home straight; it actually takes a different kind of confidence to stop at this stage, and you don’t have that, so you just keep going, desperately hoping for a freak lightening storm to arrive and throw the power out.
  • You’re half way through your story when a couple of others in the group start up their own separate conversation. You’re faced with the harsh reality that you just weren’t interesting enough to hold the whole group’s attention (but you knew that anyway). There is now only one person listening to you, and clearly they’re only being polite. All you can do is stare intently at that one person, trying your hardest to act like you were only talking to that one person anyway, whilst racing through as fast as you can to get to the end of what you want to say.
Girl hiding her face in her hands

You can’t see me right?

2) You tell someone that you will email or text them, and they say “Or just give me a call”. Just? Just?! No no no no, emailing is a “just”, texting is a “just”, giving someone a call isn’t anywhere close to being a “just”.

3) Someone is blocking the way that you want to walk. You say “Excuse me”, but horror of horrors, they don’t hear you! You’re pretty convinced however that everyone else in a 5 mile radius DID hear you and they’re all wondering why you don’t just say “Excuse me” again, a bit louder (Ha, as if THAT’S an option). There’s only one thing for it, you must pull out your phone, tap the screen a few times while looking slightly concerned, and make a little “ooh” noise. This indicates that there is something on your phone alerting you to the fact that you no longer need to go in that direction, but instead need to turn back and go in a completely different direction. Keep looking at your phone while you execute the manoeuvre. No one will suspect a thing.

4) You’re in a large group situation, maybe a party, or the dreaded “Refreshments and networking” section of a conference, or as I like to call it, the “Refreshments and stand there awkwardly wondering how soon is too soon to go back and sit in the conference room ready for the next talk” section. You’re pleased that someone you’re reasonably comfortable with is talking to you. And then from nowhere they decide to throw you to the lions by doing one of the following things:

  • They say “Anyway, I’m just going to go and say hi to a couple of people”, and off they go, leaving you standing there wishing you possessed that superpower of being able to just go and say hi to a couple of people. If you’re at a conference, you’re lucky, you will probably have been given some papers, these papers are your new best friend; there is no limit to the number of times they can be read.
  • They say “Come on, I’m going to introduce you to a couple of people.” This has the exact same effect on you as if they’d said, “Come on, I’m going to take all your clothes off you and parade you around naked for a while.”

Introverts unite

Seriously, how do we get through the day?


Image credits:
Girl in sweater –  Nguyen Hung Vu
Girl hiding face – Matthew Loberg
Introverts unite – Kappy V11