real life

Five situations that make absolutely everyone feel unbearably anxious.

Last week, I decided to go to the movies with a few friends.

I was expecting it to be rather pleasant, and was quite looking forward to an $8 frozen coke made of GODDAMN GOLD.

But instead, it nearly killed me.

You see, my two friends are pretty laid back or “chill” as the cool kids would say. As we walked into the movies they plonked themselves down dead center. “Oh, wowie”, I thought. “We got pretty good seats didn’t we!” That was until…

I looked at our tickets and it became overwhelmingly clear that we were not sitting in our allocated seats.

I panicked. My breathing became faster. My palms got all sweaty. My knees began to shake.

If I had to design hell, it would look a lot like someone I do not know approaching me to inform me that I am sitting in their seat. I spend my entire life trying to avoid socially uncomfortable situations, and this was practically inviting one.

Hell looks like sitting in the WRONG seats in a cinema. Image via Giphy.

I felt like yelling at every person who walked in "IS THIS YOUR SEAT? I can move. I can...leave. You know what, I'll leave. And please have my frozen coke. You want popcorn? Small or large?"

This frankly traumatic experience prompted me to think about other forms of modern day torture that are so socially excruciating they keep you up at night.

Liking someone's old photo on Instagram or Facebook

There are few times in life where I exercise more caution than when I'm 114 weeks deep on someone's Instagram feed.

But it's been a solid 15 minutes of stalking. You become fatigued. Your scrolling becomes less controlled. Until BOOM - the routine scroll becomes a double tap and you've just humiliated yourself beyond repair.

It's usually someone I very vaguely know. As in well enough for them to recognise my face, but not well enough to be liking pictures from their Euro trip in mid 2014.

For a moment you can't breath. You think "UNLIKE UNLIKE MAYBE THEY WON'T SEE IT". Then you throw your phone across the room and clutch your mouth in horror.


In 11 seconds you go through the seven stages of grief, concluding with reluctantly accepting that they will see it, and life will never be the same again.

Listen: Also? When someone walks into the bathroom just as you walk out, and you're terrified they might be able to smell something. The Mamamia Out Loud team have a solution for this. Post continues after audio.

Getting stuck in a moving grocery line, while your mum/partner runs off to get "just one more thing!"

You know what's not a fun pastime?

Edging closer and closer to the counter at Woolworths, with impatient people behind you, and having your mum pop off for a moment because she forgot couscous.

What...what am I meant to do? Do I...let the person behind me go first? But more importantly WHERE IS SHE? WHERE?

She's probably lost. Or decided to buy a few other things on the way. And I am TRAPPED in a living nightmare.

The only appropriate response is to hurl all the groceries in the air and run out screaming. It's all just too much for one woman to handle.

Not being able to hear someone, so asking them to repeat themselves...and still not understanding what they've said

Haaaaa hahahah (I hope you didn't just tell me your dog died) hahaha ahahah ahhhh. You're so funny when I can't hear anything you've said why can't you speak up like a normal person.

Having your colleagues sing 'Happy Birthday' to you while maintaining eye contact

If someone out there knows what you are meant to do with your face while people are singing at you, then please, let me know.

You have to try and look joyful, without looking like you're enjoying the attention too much. And also grateful. But also humble.

This. This is what my face looks like. Image via Giphy.

I swear this absurd ritual was invented by someone who deep down knows how much every single human being hates it, and was trolling us.

Other examples of social torture include:

  • Seeing someone you know from a distance and not knowing what to do as you walk towards them.
  • Saying a lengthy "good bye" and then walking in the same direction.
  • That awkward side step you do with strangers on the street and you both go left, and then both go right until you just give up and play dead.
  • When you dog poops outside a cafe and you've run out of bags and everyone in the whole suburb is watching you.

There are just some situations that make you want to crawl into a hole and lay there for a few weeks to recover. But there is some solace in knowing they're shared.

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