From happy to hangry: The 12-step emotional guide to a hunger-induced meltdown.

It’s a friggin emotional rollercoaster.

If you’ve been living under a rock (under another rock that’s beneath a glacier, formed some time in the palaeolithic age) you may not have heard of this term. In fact, it’s more than just a term – i’s a debilitating condition. The afflicted has no control over their own behaviour or the collateral damage it causes. Not when they are…


The Collins English Dictionary defines hangry as an adjective:

  1. (humorous) irritable as a result of feeling hungry.

But anyone who has actually been around a truly hanrgy person, knows that this state of being is neither humorous nor a mere irritation. It is a serious affliction that goes through 12 very distinct stages, the final of which are conducive to highly irrational behaviour and decision making. Yes, it is dangerous. And yes, it is real.

The 12 stage process is as follows:

1. Moodiness

The initial stages of being hangry are subtle. You’re a tad snappy and little things annoy you more than they usually would but you can’t quite figure out why.

2. Irritation.

The light bulb moment. You catch a wiff of your co-worker’s lunch and now your stomach is officially rumbling. You realise it’s been a while between snacks (come on, at least half an hour) and that’s what has got you in a funk.

3. Food envy.

Ok, now that co-worker is actually going to EAT in front of you!? Hell nah. Your thoughts are consumed with the smell of their luscious burrito or lasagna. No work can be accomplished any more. You are too busy salivating.

4. Denial.

You tell yourself that you can push through, that you ate barely hours ago and that really you don’t actually need food now. Your mind wrestles with your stomach, you deny the truth: You’re not hungry, you just need a glass of water. Right?

You attempt to play it cool.

4. Grungry-ness.

Double nope. The letters on your screen as you type in Word are forming tiny, dancing burgers. You have now realised that you have left your lunch at home. You start to panic, you start to stress and become emotional. FIGHT THE TEARS, GOD DAMMIT.

5. Frustration.

You will not be without sustenance, so you take action. You grab a buddy and head to the local fish and chip shop but it seems you’ve foolishly chosen the wrong companion. They take F-O-R-E-V-E-R to decide what they want. It feels like your retinas could actually detach and pop out of your skull because your eye balls are twitching so hard.

Make. Up. Your. Mind. Punk.

6. Indecision.

Oh flip, you were so focused on hating on the work friend that you’ve forgotten your own order. Your brain has switched off from lack of food based energy particles and you’ve made what could be a potentially fatal error (either for you or your stupid work colleague).


Panic ensues and you choose salad with your fish – instead of chips – in a bout of #cleaneating hysteria.

7. Disappointment.

Food is coming and satisfaction is imminent, so your mood improves dramatically in anticipation. The waiter walks towards you, you can see the fish, smell the chips, practically taste the delicious batter….

But no. That is someone else’s order. It is not for you. You break down.

8. Depression.

The friend you’re with gets their meal… but you’re still waiting. So they took half an hour to make up their mind but they get their food first?! Oh the injustice of it all. You can’t even maintain the pretence of happiness or politeness any longer. You sink into the darkness….

9. Hallucinations.

You tell your friend to start without you, as their fingers turn into hot chips in front of your eyes. You see food everywhere. You consider eating the table, you wonder why there are no pre-meal nuts with sugar on them like in a Chinese restaurant. Where is the bread? Where are the complimentary appetisers? Why is there NOTHING TO EAT HERE.

10. Fury.



Your work friend is considering an email to HR in response to the amount of inappropriate swear words coming out of your mouth.

11. Despair.

Luckily your meal comes before you stab work friend with a spoon and oooooh it’s going to be so great. This battered fish will solve all your life problems and possibly create world peace.

But the food is shit. Your hopes and dreams are annihilated.

It’s your own fault for betraying the chips.

12. Meltdown.

Finally, you have arrived at full blown burn-down-this-entire-building-to-the-ground level of hangry. If someone had the audacity to touch you right now, you could probably rip their scalp off. Your work (no longer) friend is probably suggesting you see a counsellor or get some kind of medical help.

So you grab a chocolate bar….