How to maximise the awkwardness in a lift

NOBODY likes being forced into close proximity with strangers in a lift. Here’s how to take the experience to new levels of awkwardness and discomfort.

Obstruct others

The confinement of a lift is ideal for intruding on personal space. Try standing exactly in the middle of the floor, ensuring you compromise everyone’s comfort. The other strategic locations in a lift are: (A) right up by the doors, forcing people to squirm past you to get in or out, and (B) in front of the buttons so people have to ask you to press them, giving you a feeling of great power and importance, often in your groin.


When packed into a lift most people will avoid eye contact and conversation. Don’t let this interfere with your mission. Loudly address strangers with an unnecessary ‘Hello!’ and ask lunchtime shoppers what items they’ve bought and how much they cost. If ignored, say ‘Charming!’ sarcastically, so that each subsequent tense second will feel like an eternity.


This classic film comedy moment always fails to raise a chuckle in reality, particularly if the smell makes people heave and get off at the next floor. To achieve maximum awkwardness you need to strike a balance between a noisy harmless fart, and a soundless but more noxious one. Try eating different foods and practise anal gas release techniques in the controlled environment of your car.

Phone a sexual partner

If your signal allows, why not have a very personal phone conversation with your partner, if applicable? This suggests you’re unduly proud of your unremarkable sexual success, which is pathetic and annoying. Move onto a seedy conversation about your sex life, so that everyone wishes the cables would snap and take them to an early grave. Graphic details are unnecessary, as forcing your fellow lift passengers to use their imaginations will make it worse, like a horror film that’s more terrifying because you only glimpse the monster.

Lie down

Space is at a premium in a busy lift, so why not lie down and occupy the space of four people? This transgresses social norms, but no one will tell you to get the f**k up, out of ludicrous politeness or a reasonable fear that you’re mentally unwell or on drugs. Note: Don’t try this in the office lift of a fossil fuel company like BP. People will think you’re from Just Stop Oil and before you know it you’ll be getting pummelled by bastard coppers who fancy a bit of Swampy-bashing.

Assault the senses

For maximum uncomfortableness look as if you’re about to cough or sneeze. There’s nothing worse in a confined space than someone spraying possibly-fatal, Covid-laden fluids about. Alternatively try developing extra-rancid coffee breath by only drinking espressos and not brushing your teeth for several days, or simply rub kebab meat under your armpits every morning. If someone is actually sick in the lift, rendering it useless for a day and making everyone walk up eight flights of stairs, take pride in a job well done.

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The self-checkout camera at Tesco, and other places you look f**king dreadful

THOUGHT you looked pretty good in the mirror at home? Here are some places that will unexpectedly reveal how truly hideous you are.

Self-checkout camera

You’re innocently beeping your shopping through the till when you look up and are confronted with a close-up video image of yourself. Your face looks fat, red and surprised, and why had you never noticed that your nose was so wonky? You return to the shelves for a bottle of wine to blot out the horror of suddenly turning from gorgeous to ugly.

Front-facing camera on phone

You’re just going to take a picture of the view and – waaah! What the f**k is that quadruple-chinned monster doing in your phone? Oh, the camera has been switched to front-facing and it’s you, unfortunately. You consider smashing your phone, but it was expensive, so you Google ‘face lift’ instead to see if that’s cheaper.

Shop window

As you approach the newsagent’s you can see a large, ungainly person lumbering towards you like a hippo with collapsed arches. You’re glad you don’t walk like that. A split second later you to realise that the window is mirrored and the uncoordinated oaf is you. Your self-confidence is drained forever. Maybe you should stay indoors for the rest of your life? It’s only fair to the rest of society.

Photograph from a night out

One of your mates still insists on posting photos of nights out on Facebook and you aren’t an attractive 19-year-old anymore so they’re all dreadful. You look knackered, bloated and have bloodshot eyes, though luckily the only engagement it gets is from a twat you went to school with commenting ‘haha u look like dogs now’.

Yoga studio mirrors

You want to get in better shape and head down to the yoga studio, dreaming of getting as toned and fit as Jessica Alba. Unfortunately one entire wall is made of mirrors, meaning you spend an hour staring at yourself with your flab falling out of your leggings at all angles. Vow never to return and stop by the shop for some Ben & Jerry’s on the way home to drown your sorrows. Feel worse because it’s got a fat cow on the tub.