How to walk away from every conversation with lasting regret

YET to complete an interaction that wasn’t steeped in awkwardness, misunderstanding and regret? These are the rules: 

Forget every name

Whether a passing acquaintance, a work colleague of ten years, a good friend or your boyfriend, bad conversationalists never recall a name. Extra points if you guess and get it wrong but close enough to insult. The surpassingly awkward don’t remember faces either.

Forget every detail

Does this person love fishing? No, didn’t they just get divorced? Or wait, maybe they got a new coffee machine? None of those, so you come across as a random interrogation generating AI. Make sure to panic so you don’t pay attention to their corrections.

Tell them nothing

When asked about yourself, freeze. Empty your mind of everything you have ever seen or done. Give monosyllabic answers. Remaining resolutely anecdote-free will allow your helplessness in the face of the question ‘And how are you?’ to haunt you for months.

Get hopelessly mired in detail

Backing yourself into a conversational corner with a failed joke you try to explain which ends up with you Googling ‘can peacocks fly’ in front of an unsmiling colleague is great, though if you really want to wince into the mirror tomorrow keep correcting yourself about what your geography teacher’s name was.

Go overfriendly

It’s been a f**king disaster, so you say ‘Let’s meet up!’ It’s a classic attempt to wrap things up that only deepens the weirdness as you realise this is your best mate’s ex who she dumped when you exposed his cheating. Finishes with a solid simultaneous feeling of terror that it might happen and relief that no way either of you will follow up this shitshow.

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Graphic designers, and other careers your mum erroneously thinks make shitloads

DOES your mum believe she knows of a career option that would make you rich? She has no idea that these five jobs are just as badly paid as yours: 

Graphic designers

Has Jude Law been one in a thriller or something? Because she doesn’t know what they do but is convinced it’s glamorous, and brings up Sheila’s son who does logos and has a house in Spain. Swats aside that 90 per cent of them are freelance and make cock-all.


Barristers perhaps, high-flying corporate lawyers maybe, but your mother feels sure that becoming a solicitor would put you on a never-ending gravy train scooping up bundles of cash from boundary disputes. Reminds you that you dropped out of law A-level because there was ‘too much homework’.


Renzo Piano, architect of the Shard, is doubtless a rich man. But your mum never listens when you explain that after seven years of university most of them are planning three-bed new builds for a development in Staffordshire for less than what a mid-level HR Manager gets.


Definitely influenced by a Sunday night ITV crime drama, because she is convinced a reporting job on a local paper would swiftly take you to overturning wrongful murder convictions from a swanky Docklands flat, not earning Nando’s wages for writing about the success a local woman’s made of her floristry business.


When your mum hears ‘writer’, she cuts straight to J.K Rowling or Stephen King selling a million copies. Instead of thousands of flat-broke shitheads churning out SEO for a local plumbing company because they can’t get a £2,000 advance for their 1,000 page fantasy novel.