Which of these people do you know? The Rambler, Bad Jokester, Advice-Giver

Ramit Sethi

Let’s take a moment to celebrate the weirdos we all work with. Which one of these people do you know?

  • THE BAD-JOKE MAKER: They don’t talk a lot, but one day in a meeting, they randomly make a joke. It completely flops and hangs in the air. Co-workers look at each other out of the sides of their eyes
  • THE RAMBLER: You ask them if they want to go to lunch. Somehow, 3 minutes later, they’ve digressed into a history of World War I, the problem with Democrats, and a description of their mom’s dental problems
  • THE ADVICE GIVER: This person thinks because they’ve shopped at a store, they are a marketing expert. They offer tip after tip about how to sell more — “You wanna know what I would do? First, I’d start with…” You contemplate homicide

Today, I was going to talk about how to get unstuck in your social life, but first, let’s talk about being awkward.

Tell me, who’s the most awkward person that you know? Shit, I’ve met a bunch of you guys. For half the people reading this, the most awkward person is you.

Let’s see who has the best story.

Share your story in the comments below.

P.S. Tomorrow, I’ll introduce you to the expert on going from “office weirdo” to someone who’s charismatic and loved by everyone.

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  1. Varia

    I seem to be the “awkward silence” person… I have a gift for saying the thing that ends the conversation.

    • David

      I don’t have anything to say to say to that.

    • Nathan

      That was to funny

    • Allan

      Potentially that makes you the expert 🙂 you have the gift of having the final word 😉

  2. O

    I just had to precept for a student on an internship that somehow combined all three of these examples. There is nothing that I love more than to be working away and to be bothered with a 10 minute intro speech and several bad jokes to preface a question (that he probably could have figured out himself). I have been working in my field for 17 years and it is great getting advice from someone who has completed 2 years of school and can’t tell his ass from a hole in the ground. After hearing “just one more question” about 37 times I finally had to flat out ignore him so that I could get work done. If my office had a door I would have slammed it in his face. I understand that he is here on an unpaid internship and is trying to learn, but by impeding me from doing work he hurts the system as a whole. I think that after this I may be done taking students.

    • bf

      1. You, or someone in your company, choose this person for for an unpaid student internship (otherwise, free would be illegal). YOU, as an employee of your company are therefore responsible for him/her.
      2. If he is actually stupid, do everyone a favor and cut him loose. Right now, he’s learning nothing, and failing (you *are* going to fail him, right? Or are you going to pass him like a lazy turd?).
      3. I recognize you don’t want to have”the talk.” It’s awkward. It is also YOUR JOB. YOU GET PAID. He, on the other hand, is there too learn, but is stuck with a lazy mentor who can’t be bothered to answer questions, won’t set limits, and hasn’t bothered to properly design an internship.
      4. If s/he’s not stupid, just awkward, and comes to you with “One quick question..” the correct answer is, “I have time for ONE question. You have three minutes. Go!” At the end of three minutes, “ok, times up. Go back, read the instructions (cause your internship is well designed, right?), and formulate a question that can be asked in under three minutes. I’ll talk to you after lunch.”
      In this way, he will learn something useful. And YOU will learn to manage a person with very poor people skills, by which I mean, yourself. Your people skills are lousy.

    • Ann

      Nice one BF

  3. Jeff

    The rambler that makes you feel like you’re drowning in quicksand holding a 50 pound weight.

    It can feel difficult to segue topics with them because I stopped listening minutes ago and am now trying to find something sharp to stab myself.

    Yay Social Skills!

  4. Maria

    Cannot stop saying negative things. You tell me it is a beautiful day outside. I will let you know that a storm is rolling in this evening.

  5. Greg

    I have a neighbor who is an end-of-world doomsday prepper and survivalist. Weekly he finds a way to interrupt me with the same story on preparing for disasters. It doesn’t matter if I’m busy getting my family out the door or having a personal conversation with another neighbor. If he sees me, I get the talk. Sometimes when if I let him get too close to me, he’ll put his hand on my shoulder as he talks and by the end he’s rubbing my arm expressing some sort of odd genuine interest in my personal survival preparation. Over the past couple years he’s dropped off nine 5-gallon liquid containers for water storage and recently, three more to give away to someone else I know. Does he forget we talked last week, and the week before, for over two years? Poor memory or just awkwardly friendly?

    • Sandie

      Well, you have to admire his determination. Since you haven’t built your bunker yet he’s probably afraid you didn’t hear him- for the last two year.

  6. Simone

    II have experienced many ramblers at work. You stop by for a quick question and the next thing I know they’re on a tirade about their weekend and blah, blah, blah… I don’t care. I think for the most part I am a fun social person, but at work I’m sometimes too nice and don’t voice my opinion as much as I should. I also know I can be awkward at times and I’m not attracting the type of person I want to be friends with. I have a different mindset than the typical 9-5 worker and I want to be surrounded with other people that are pursuing their dreams and doing things outside the box. I also want to be around people that enjoy life and don’t take themselves too seriously. I have a good group of friends like this, but most of them don’t live in my city. I want like-minded friends around all the time.

    • Crisaly

      I can relate to you Simone because I’m the exact same way. I’m ultra polite, friendly, a dream chaser, and sometimes funny but for some reason I don’t attract the kind of people I would like to. I care who my friends are and I’m looking for people who motivate me the same way I try to motivate them. I like knowing positive thinkers and doers. People who are constantly being creative and innovative fascinate me. I thinks it so beautiful to see someone blossom like that! It may take me a little while to meet like-minded people since I just move to a new city, but I’m hoping to soon.

      Best Wishes to you

    • Vikki

      LOL, I’m going to give some advice now … 🙂 One of the bast ways I have found to repel negative people is to always be positive. When someone goes off on a negative tirade, I point out the positives in their situation … ie, what a great learning experience this is for them is one that I use, or tell them to avoid that person or situation again. Either they will begin to be a bit more positive, or they will avoid me like the plague. Cutting people off from monopolizing your time is NOT impolite, in my opinion, it is doing both of you a favor. I have found that a positive attitude repels negativity from others.

  7. Hector

    There is a guy at my office who just seems to take the air out of the room when he walks in. If you ask him ‘how was your day’ he almost alwasy replies in a totally negative way, like …. “Miserable! Traffic sucked, my dog bit me, my wife is frigid, yadda, yadda, yadda”.

    I don’t know but I was raised to try to impart joy in my daily communications with people. ask them how they are doing and try to make their day better through your interaction. You don’t want someone feeling depressed every time they talk to you. Cause then guess what? They are not going to want to talk to you!

  8. Lrs

    Had the weird rambler/hoverer,, without any ability to ready body language or social cues.
    Would come to my desk, start chatting about getting the new Fast and Furious DVD..where I’d say I’ve never seen it, that I’m really not into cars. Then he’d proceed to invite me over to watch it.

    He’d hover at my desk when I turned away and went back to work, even after I’d say “Ok, I gotta get back work” “I need to reply to this..”
    People that sit near me would say I tried to get him to leave 4-5 times to no avail.

    • Lisa

      Sometimes over the ear headphones work, or I have to call into a meeting or take this call although the second option means calling yourself or sending an IM to a coworker.

      The most awkward person I know was a personal trainer at a former job. He would stand too close, initiate conversation when not wanted, would not take cues to end a conversation. ..

      At least i didn’t share a locker room with him. One of the guys said he was close talking with not enough coverage if you get my drift. No one needs to see that. One of the other women would wear headphones and act like she couldn’t hear him.

    • Rosieteapot

      Oh yes, I’ve encountered a few of those people in offices as well!! Once I pretended I was on a phone call when I saw her coming… it worked quite well actually 🙂

  9. Pauline

    The “me, me, me”. You can say anything you want, the person will always reply by saying something about them. They never listen to you so much as try to find a way to change the topic back to their person.

    • Jesse Rude

      Ugh, I am so like that. Like this one time, I went to a party…

    • Tsukiko Spark

      ME Too!! How can I stop being me? I feel I’m so interesting!:)

    • Sandie

      I work with this lady!!! I know waaaaay more than I want to about her, her kids, her husband, her mother and father, her church, her nieces and nephews, her dog, her… It’s EXHAUSTING, I tell you!! I look forward to when she’s on vacation.
      And, Jesse Rude- I cracked up out loud.

  10. steve

    The person who is uncomfprtable with silence, and has to talk over a customer and instruct a customer when the customer has more knowledge than the sales person. Pretty awkward cleaning up the mess associated with this approach.

  11. Aaron Biller

    My friend from college just visited this weekend. If something isn’t about him, he’s not interested. So, in conversation, he will shift everything to a story about him, his family, his co-workers, whatever. If the people he is speaking with are sharing something they find funny, but he does NOT find it funny, he will either offer no response or bluntly state his disapproval. Additionally, if asked to do something or not do something (for example, “Hey, would you mind not brushing your teeth in the kitchen sink?”), he will sometimes make an unspoken decision that he does not feel the request was reasonable and will therefore ignore it. If he is in a room by himself, he speaks to himself loudly as if in conversation with another person.

    Combine all of these, and you get some of the most awkward and mildly offensive interactions ever.

  12. Michelle

    I would say that I am the most awkward person I know. I am not the three categories listed above I am the person who when trying to get to know someone new interjects with weird forced phrases like ‘oh no! really’ ‘that’s ridiculous’ or some other generic phrase that adds zero value to the conversation. I say this while the person is talking and I do it subconsciously. Out of no where my brain decides to emphatically blurt out ‘oh wow’ to their story. It comes off as so forced and odd. As I get to know people I’m fine but every one of my poor new friends has gone through this ‘blurt out something to be a part of the conversation’ phase.

    • Katie

      Oh wow I do that too.

  13. Sydney

    How about awkward bosses? Mine is really uncomfortable managing people and delegating work, instead he makes half-serious jokes and leaves you to figure out what that means he’d like from you. It’s a really awkward tip-toeing around each other game.

    • Brianna

      My boss is very similar to this. He also used to work at a company that took harassment VERY seriously I guess. So sometimes he’ll walk over to my desk and preface a social conversation by saying “oh this isn’t about work” which makes it more awkward. I want to be like… you know you can just start the social topic and I’ll understand you aren’t asking me to complete a work task by chatting about the weather.

  14. Vic

    “Tell me, who’s the most awkward person that you know? Shit, I’ve met a bunch of you guys. For half the people reading this, the most awkward person is you.”

    Yeah, I would be the later.

  15. newton

    I used to be the most awkward person I know but I’ve since taken control of that and gotten much more socially adept over the years. I don’t believe awkward people are confined to a life of awkwardness. The level of difficulty is varying since everyone is different, but with some self-awareness and practice you too can pull yourself out of social ineptness.
    With that said, my observation is that the most awkward group of people I know are still highly intelligent programmers. I love what they accomplish but carrying a conversation with them is often a chore. What’s up with programmers and awkwardness?

  16. Dizzy

    I’ve worked with this guy in a few places – The 40 year old professional who always wants to discuss how wasted he gets at the weekend or the 23 year olds he chases with his 25 year old junior colleagues. Comes across as a nice combination of inauthentic, unprofessional and trying too hard, not to mention the inability to read the “we’re not impressed and don’t want to have this conversation” reaction it gets.

  17. LKay

    Everyone’s got their moments of awkwardness from times (even I do to) but from the 3 choices you put out I’m reminded of an awkward interaction that I saw like a month ago with one of my flatmates.

    We went out to this bar that had a ‘drink and draw’ venue so artist people (whether professionally or just as a hobby) can gather and socially mingle. There was one particular person who was just taking the time to just work on his personal portfolio by inking a comic page. I don’t remember how it even started but all I remember was seeing my flatmate go from casual chatting to suddenly full-on criticizing mode, telling the guy what parts he ought to rework and improve on the story, never mind that the guy didn’t look like he asked for any critical feedback and how uncomfortable the guy looked. She only stopped when the guy interrupted her by telling her he can’t change the script since it’s not his story to begin with and he can’t.

  18. Amber

    I teach a very lovely family who is super sweet, but they are not the best at making conversation. It is extremely awkward for me because the family always gives one word answers. A few weeks ago they were having a meeting in their home just as I was finishing teaching their youngest daughter. As I was preparing to leave, I was making casual conversation and smiling. Everyone who was there, stared at me blankly. I know they speak Malayalam. I know only a few words. I am always very kind and polite in my body language and with what I say. Any suggestions as to how to communicate more effectively with them?
    Thank you!

  19. Aaron

    The too slow to converse conversation. My brother talks so slow that it makes it unbearable to hold a conversation, on the phone or in person. A simple request to bring a side dish to dinner would take more than ten minutes. Let alone the overt lack of tone, excitement or life, makes every conversation a visit to the dentist who has no tools trying to pull teeth.

  20. JJ

    This person doesn’t fit any of your 3 categories but it’s a different kind of awkwardness I’ve encountered.

    I worked at a lab as a grad student and this person whom I’ll call John from a neighboring lab. John is an exchange student from another country so I’ll cut him some slack for his awkwardness..

    Every time I greeted him or tried to make smalltalk, he’d reply in a very formal manner like “Good afternoon” or “hello sir” as if he’s responding to the President or some authority figure. And every time he spoke to me, his tone of voice sounded like he was reading a book. He didn’t use any slang and his grammar was pretty much flawless although he had a mild accent.

  21. Amy

    I was homeschooled.

    Beat that.

    • Mike

      You’ll need to explain why you are awkward differently than that. Being home schooled doesn’t automatically imply that a person is socially awkward. It’s a nasty stereotype that is false more than it is true.

  22. Lisa L

    My “Most Awkward Person” award goes to the guy behind me in the line to vote a few years ago…at first he seemed like one of those overly-friendly (and slightly boundary-challenged) people who compulsively engages in conversation with anyone next to him. But then he started loudly venting his angry, one-sided political views, speaking as if I shared his views (because of course, his views are the only correct and reasonable views, and I look reasonable, so I must agree with him, right?!) – ALL WHILE WE ARE STANDING IN LINE TO VOTE! It made me so, so uncomfortable -and judging by the rolled eyes and sympathetic glances of the people around us, I wasn’t the only one.

    • Lisa L

      Oh, and to add to my story – after a long time, the guy *finally* managed to pick up my very obvious signals that I was not interested in continuing this one-sided “conversation”, and then said that I must not want to talk to him because he was a man. (Nope, sorry dude, your maleness is definitely not the problem here…)

  23. Tessk

    We worked with a guy who, like many others are saying here, could not pick up on cues that people were working. He was actually pretty good at his job, but very nearly had ADHD and could not avoid flitting about the office chatting away(a relatively small office space too!) like a hummingbird. Over a year into his tenure, a coworker slightly snapped. He didn’t yell but he did firmly say “Listen to me. I really need to get this done so I can go eat lunch. You don’t seem to pick up on body language or cues easily, so I’m going to have to be rude and say please leave me alone.”
    We were all shocked, the whole space happened to hear the transaction.
    The guy nodded, apologized, and went back to his desk. He did not get up and talk to anyone for hours… we all felt bad and chatted back and forth on IMs about it, because now his sometimes annoying presence had been replaced by awkward silence. Towards the end of the day, we all went out for beers, and forced him to come even though he was making up excuses not to go. Since then, he has been 100% better. It was a rough intervention, but it has made us happier, and I hope him too.

  24. Nicole L.

    I can’t translate my personality to an online persona well;
    at least when it comes to humor since I’m unable to gauge reactions from others

    Here’s my awkward and embarrassing story that you all can laugh at, I totally deserve it!

    So, several times in the past I have emailed Ramit a humor piece I had worked on because I really
    admire his style of humor and wanted to get his feedback (Seriously, who else can make finance
    interesting?! No one!).

    Recently, I made my first ever comic about a twisted fan who was obsessed with him and thought it was the most hilarious thing ever. My boyfriend thought it was hilarious as well, so I thought Ramit might enjoy it as much as we had. I sent it to him with an email explaining the humor behind it and didn’t really think much of it.

    Um, then a few days later I sent it to a few other friends of mine. They thought it was creepy as hell because I had based the fan’s images off of myself and told me that I’d be lucky if Ramit didn’t take a restraining order out on me.

    Then I realized how crazy it came across as and felt like an ass.
    Never email anything humorous without getting feedback first.

    Tl;dr: Sent Ramit “funny” comic, I’m now the creepy rapist girl.


    • Roiseteapot

      Well, your comment made me laugh at least 🙂

  25. J

    Hi, my name is Jay and I’m socially retarded.

    My story? I was raised in a religious houselhold by parents who repressed every natural instinct or creative impulse I ever had and they dressed me funny. I was bullied at home, in the neighborhood and at school. I didn’t have real friends until I was a teenager, and because these people were stoners, my parents freaked out and got me incarcerated. I bounced around between various high schools, finally getting a GED and later flunking out of college. Because I was smart in some ways, my folks thought I could figure it all out for myself without meaningful guidance in spite of all these artificial barriers set to stymie my development. Surprise!

    I’ve been to some interesting places through hitchhiking and moving to exciting cities another couple of times, but never felt like I fit in anywhere. I’m articulate and try to be kind, so some people like me and perhaps I exaggerate my lack of savoir faire in my own mind more than it’s actually perceived. On the other hand, I’m a balding middle aged man with a thinning ponytail that hangs nearly to my ass and find it difficult to relate deeply to people who haven’t been psychedelicized to a greater or lesser degree. I possess some unique abilities and attributes, but I generally feel pretty awkward. There may be some others I know who are more abrasive, but I think I feel my own unease more acutely than they’re aware of theirs.

  26. Andie

    Just a few months ago I accepted a FB friend request from a fellow college alum. Let’s call him Merl. I private messaged Merl to ask him if we had any classes together or how he remembers me. I do not like to have anyone on my FB that I do not really know. Merl said he did not quite recall and began asking me questions to figure out how we met. Nothing added up but Merl made sure to let me know that I am a very nice person who must be kept in touch with. He stated we could network. Our conversations quickly shifted to what we have been up to since college and work. Fine.

    Every other day since adding Merl on my FB, he has liked my statues or commented on my pictures (Stop that!).

    I received a 2 or 3 paragraph FB message earlier this summer from Merl demonstrating how beautiful I am. Merl insisted that I understand my own outer beauty and how I probably do not even realize it. Haha… that’s a good one.

    Next, Merl shared he would like to hangout sometime if I wanted. I never replied to this private message hoping he would get the hint that I was not interested. After finding my cell number online in a status for one of my own businesses, Merl started texting me. I never replied.

    Then, my new roomie suggested inviting Merl to her birthday party a few weeks ago. She thought by meeting him in person, I could help him in someway and introduce him to other people in the area. I thought there would be no harm in that and viewed it as a way to network. “Really?”

    Merl was so excited when he found out he was invited to a party. He said that he does not get out nearly enough. Merl texted me asking what to bring to the party. I never replied. Merl jumped on FB and private messaged me, “Hey did you get my text?” I never replied.

    On the day of my roomie’s party, Merl texted me again wanting to know if it was okay to bring potato salad. I never replied. He FB me afterwards and I told him he was welcome to bring whatever he wanted. A few hours later, Merl calls me up and leaves a nice long voice mail about how he is shopping at Trader Joe’s and wants to confirm that bringing 5 lbs of potato salad is acceptable. I was busy and did not get back to him right away.

    Eventually, I FB Merl that potato salad would be fine. Merl shows up at the birthday party with this disgusting potato salad that no one wanted to touch. And worse, all night, Merl followed me around like a predator. I could feel his eyes follow me wherever I went.

    Anytime, Merl charged up to speak with me, he stopped right in front of my nose and after a second took a step back. Immediately, he would ask me 20 questions extremely fast and with a creepy smile. Like: “Are you having fun? Have you accepted how beautiful you really are? Where do you go to Mass? How many people are you in your family? Have you always lived here? Where are you from? How long has it been? When is your birthday? Have you ever thought about working in real estate? Do you like the potato salad? Why have you not tried it yet? Is that sand volley ball? Do you play? Where? How often? Has your hair always been that long? How is work? What is your commute like? What kind of car do you drive? Do you own it? What car insurance do you have?” And, on and on….

    Later in the evening, after a couple of rum shots, Merl offered me a ride in his car. This was when we left to play cosmic bowling and I kindly declined. Luckily, I was not on Merl’s bowling team. Not that it made much of a difference. Any chance, Merl got to talk with me, he pounced on it. On the flip side, this kid was amusing. Merl had me cracking up when I was talking with a friend about a music artist we really like and he interrupted to inform us that this music artist would be in town on such and such a date. Merl must have been listening to our conversation because he jumped in at the perfect time and blurted out the date of the music concert before I could finish my sentence. “Wow, that’s so cool!” *Awkward silence*

    Since the party, Merl sent me a thank you on FB and added my roomie on FB. He began sending her private messages asking to hangout. Now, my roomie is in utter regret, as she is too nice to completely ignore Merl, also. She is convinced we need to find someone really lonely to connect with Merl. Time will tell. This is not the first time I have had a stalker, by the way. I seem to attract them 1-2 times per year; must be something about my personality.

    I am thinking of creating a new FB account without my last name.

    Worst FB friend request acceptance ever.

    • Nicole L.

      Lol. I love how “Merl” replied to this blog post as well. Great story btw, you should totally unfriend that dude and straight up tell him you’re not interested.

    • Rosieteapot

      As a general rule of thumb: Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know, don’t want to know, or slightly know but don’t really like. And definitely unfriend him or at the very least, restrict access. And block his cell phone number on your phone. What’s worse? Rejecting someone or dealing with an unnecessarily amount of awkwardness? Dooo iiiit!

    • Andie

      I am well aware. As awkward as “Merl” may be he growing on me. Maybe I should tell him all about Ramit so he can have someone new to stalk?! ;-D

    • sara

      Way too nice is not nice at all. You’ve kept this going w intermittent reinforcement; he couldn’t read cues and plowed over boundaries and you engaged enough that he got something out of it. The kindest thing is to stop engaging 100%. You are actually not being nice by thinking you have to be nice and then laughing at his lack of social skills. And you’re letting someone annoy you and waste your time. I empathize bcs girls are raised to be indirect rather than let someone perhaps have their feelings hurt. I’ve wasted a lot of time AND contributed to hurt feelings by being responsive to people I was not interested in talking to. And your roommate is on crack.

  27. Jad

    Rsmit… You’re the most awkward guy I know. Don’t you agree? I mean it’s awkward to give financial advice and fight frugality. It’s awkward to show people how to save money and at the same time to allow them to buy anything they want. It’s awkward to have a book called “I will teach you to be rich”. It’s awkward to have a website under the same name. And It’s awkward to like your own eyebrows.

    You’re awkward man… I like you!

    • Jad

      And it is awkward to misspell ur name Ramit

  28. Jen Reardon

    I’m the awkward person. I have a horrible time interrupting people and really try to be suave about it, but I always stand around too long and people with do not notice me, or stare blankly waiting for me to finally say something.

    It’s safe to say I’ve gotten better, but I’m far from a graceful butterfly.

  29. Angela

    I think we all know the (usually) woman who can go on and on about her health issues, starting with something benign like a hang-nail, segueing into her skin cancer and then into her stomach/bowel issues, which stems a one-sided conversation about what food allergies she suffers from, including iodine (so nothing in restaurants can be prepared with salt), gluten, soy, avocados, etc, etc, ending with how she is also really really afraid of all of our electronics now and that they’ll not only cause cancer but aggravate her arthritis.

    I know this woman and she is the worst! Please don’t go on about your health!

  30. Scott

    I sense a social skills product launch coming up soon 🙂

  31. Brian

    I’m the weirdest person I know and I know other weird people, but it seems like I’m the most cuz I live with me all the time. I don’t have a really great story to share at the moment and would love to learn more about social skills, as this is probably the most empty area of my life – dating/social life outside of my business living in small town in southern oregon.

  32. Emily

    After every interaction with a certain co-worker, I can’t help but think, “If anyone needs a Ramit tear-down, it is THAT guy.” He has no self-confidence, is a mumbler, and has zero sense of humor. Our office is a pretty laid-back place to work, and supports an amazing cause. We do serious work, but everyone except our negative nancy seems happy to come to work every day. There’s no way to describe him adequately except to say that wherever he goes, a thick cloud of awkwardness follows. And that he works in IT, and wears a t-shirt once a week that says “fix your own f***ing computer.” (Yes, he also wears t-shirts to work. Every day.)

  33. Girianth

    I’ve experienced extremely awkward people but I’ve also had the awkward misfortune to be the most awkward person in a room.

    I’ve had what were supposed to be 2-5 minute instructional conversations with a contractor that were stretched to 45 minutes to well over an hour where he went on tirades about how such and such tech company is better and how they are doing it better than everyone else. How other companies are stupid, how our company is making mistakes not following his favorite companies methodology and how all his opinions are backed up not by experience but by tweets by popular tech people/blogs. Critiques about c-level decision making when clearly we’re not qualified to judge especially not for hours on end. This is besides the fact he would push back on every task and explain how they are too complicated and hard. If you interjected with an opinion or response to his crazy remarks he would stare blankly and repeatedly ask “what do you mean?” to my answers and follow up explanations. He would follow me around the office as I tried to leave. Other coworkers intervened a couple times and together we were able to subdue him. Sometimes someone else had to take on the next hour of his monologue. Needless to say his contract ended much earlier than was scheduled.

    Now about me, I’m not at bad as him, I have the capacity to recognize that sometimes I’m the most awkward person: making self deprecating jokes that fall flat, rambling to a point sometimes that I forget what the heck I was even trying to say to begin with, and not responding at all to comments or jokes– an extreme correction to rambling, ugh.. I know I’m not the worst but I’ve got quite a bit I’d like to work on!

  34. Ryan

    Once upon a time, when I worked at a vineyard in the south of France, we had somebody call and ask for a tasting. He mentioned that he had tasted our wine at a very nice local restaurant so we offered to waive the tasting room fee. He then shows up half an hour late with a group of fifteen. Oh boy. He “tastes”/drinks through our whole range, a process which takes about an hour for a group that size. Not one person bought anything. But they did give us a boatload of advice about how to sell our wine, market our tasting room, etc. Of course, that man did teach me one thing about marketing our tasting room: Do not waive the tasting fee before you know what you’re getting into.

  35. Nathan

    I have to have something funny to say all the dam time. Then I go over in my mind how I should’ve just shut the hell up. lol

    • Roxie

      I’m this person tool.

    • Roxie

      Should be “too”I’m this person tool.

  36. Rebecca A.

    I have a coworker who stopped by my office and announced (didn’t say “hi” or “how are you?” first) that she was going to start looking for another job, but was doubtful she would find another job because she’s “old and fat.” She then proceeded to discuss her new stretching routines and Weight Watchers. Oh, and I don’t really know her that well – certainly not at a level where conversations regarding stretching are appropriate.

    This coworker receives my nomination today.

  37. Julia Frank

    I don’t have an office, but occasionally I have some fancy fashion events that I must attend where generally I am the socially awkward one with tons of bad jokes that are culturally inappropriate or don’t translate well from English. In english I am actually, genuinely funny, so awkwardness can increase when I expect the usual reaction to my jokes, but they bomb instead. I can also be quite the wind-bag, as I have a matching (if not better) story to any I might hear because I actually have been everywhere on adventures that often make me sound like a liar.

    Anyway there came an important event and I needed a date to avert attention from my own awkwardness and somehow I decided to call “The Serb.” We had met at an art opening a while back and he talked a good game, was comfortable networking around the pedigreed upper-crusters, and was kind of semi-hot in that male yoga teacher sort of way. We agreed he would come with me on Friday night and on Sunday I would go with him to some Serbian picnic where I would be introduced to potential clients in ambassador’s wives and the like.

    First we went for a coffee where he saw some girls he’d met before, and quite embarrassingly couldn’t take their hints that they wished he would shut up and leave them alone. Then back to my place where he, after only talking about himself and his connections, and not asking a single question sent my logos and info to his buddies in China saying he was representing my brand, then of course lambasted me for “not wanting to make big business China.” This went on and on with him describing to me in great detail how do everything from taking a picture with my iPhone to how to play with my dog to how I should have a washed up old ballerina with one lame arm be the spokes person for my youthful organic fashion brand because she has some pedigreed name that people locally cow-tow too. All the while droning on and on about how he is “the great communicator” while he is not only unable to take hints but directly fired assaults to his behavior.

    Friday night I leave him standing without so much as a handshake, but decide to show for this picnic thing on sunday. After about an hour there, with him, I had to leave. The first thing he said to me was “Take your fucking hair down!!” (I have this nice hair that men like, but usually have it in a bun). On went the pushing of my buttons until I finally left in a quiet angry b-line for the door before my inner volcano began openly erupting. No potential client was worth another second with this guy, and I figured being introduced by him would be a total mistake.

    Of course he STILL didn’t manage to get the picture, and called me 20 times finally sending a text where he informed me that he called said horrible x-ballerina, told her we were together (like together together) and that he was from now on representing me and offered her the spokesperson slot. The thing is he really believed all the crap he was spewing, and had not a thought about the consequences, which I am actually still feeling from ballerina girl in the form of a bunch of petty career impeding moves on her part.

  38. Anna

    It is a bit weird i would say because I think I’m awkward in many ways. I’m the awkward advice giver, the rambler, the bad joke teller. I’ve been in many occasions where I’ve been given a weird look by people because I’m probably…..well weird! But at the same time, I’m not a bad individual so that makes it all ok LOL

  39. Tim

    I confess I am the bad joke maker. I drop comedic bombs everywhere. Most are duds as few of them ever blow up. I’d love to know how to change that. And by change I mean either learn how to shut my trap or tell jokes that are actually funny.

  40. Rosieteapot

    One that springs to mind is the: “Too Much Information” person. I recently dashed into my partners workplace to drop something off, and one of his co-workers (who I barely know, beyond knowing her name and that she works there) stopped me to say hi. I replied with “Hey, how are you?”and she started telling me about her “stool” (!!!) due to her recent hysterectomy… Personally, I would say to someone I don’t know very well that I’m “OK, but recovering from an operation” (if that) rather than launching into specific details about poop. Just me…?

    • Josh Stein

      I’m afraid you’ve won this particular thread, if I had a vote.

  41. Shay

    Well, I work in a hospital in a clinical role and was speaking with a patient’s sister who was his next of kin and decision -maker. He had failed in his suicide attempt and had scrambled his brains. We were discussing what the next step would be in terms of what would happen at discharge- living with her? rehab? nursing home? She was very stressed having just lost her mother in the last few months, and her adult brother had lived with mom. Lots of regrets, tears, etc. That morphed into how her cat had cancer and had to have his penis amputated. I KID YOU NOT! I wanted to ask how he performed his bodily functions, but was afraid she would tell me that the feline had to be straight cathed (cat-hed) and I would n’t be able to resist laughing. That has been several years ago, and the memory lingers….

  42. Jansrn

    I once went on a date with a guy who told me he needed to see a dentist because one of his back teeth were rotting. This was while we were eating dinner. I nearly gagged.

    This is the same person who insisted 99 Red Balloons is a romantic song until I told him what it was actually about.

    When I didn’t want to meet again, he couldn’t take no for an answer and sent messages years later. Finally, he got the hint and stopped, but it was painfully awkward at times.

  43. Hugh McMillan

    This past weekend I was sitting on a chair lift. The woman next to me got all of two words out and I was ready to jump off. In fact, she was the result of me coming very close to falling off (but that’s another story). She went on and on, in her authoritative tone, rambling and lecturing about things she clearly had no idea about. What’s worse, she wasn’t talking to me… I was surprised it was possible to be so offended by the mere presence of an individual…

  44. Yasir

    Seems you have a penchant to attract ramblers to your email list 🙂

    I loathe these types:

    The 1-Upper: You say something cool and interesting. This narcissistic cannot resist but try to find something similar or better they have done. Let a person have a moment already! Get over yourself and ask them more about their cool thing.

    The Evil Eye Paranoia: You ask them what they are doing tonight and they cryptically say “I have an invitation for something”. Later that day you see them at your mutual friends BBQ. WTH!! This person wants to hear all about your life, but when it comes to anything personal, they mention it only in hidden code

  45. Rachel

    The office rambled is a friend so I feel doubly obligated to listen. Sometimes I let het vent or listen to the gory details so I don’t have to hear about it later from someone else. Not sure which is worse in an office full of catty women. My problem? Inappropriate laughter. It can be awkward – especially with clients. At least my inner monologue amuses me.

  46. Allan

    I play online strategy games in my spare time.

    I recently joined a team that made me think “I’m never going to move into a retirement village”. So many people giving advice – so few who actually understood what they were doing.

    Reminds me of a joke about teenage sex …

  47. megan

    I sit next to the weirdo who will randomly make noises, don horrible accents when talking to clients, and rattles off the most awkward analogies.

    It’s so distracting.

  48. Brian

    Prediction: tomorrow we’ll find out that Ramit was the bad joke maker, the rambler, and the advice giver. He eventually realized he was being awkward and taught himself to be less awkward.

  49. David

    I invite any and all of you to a Pathology resident room where you can find each and every one of your situations. I know from being in one for the last three years. Thank you everyone for reminding me.

    Great thread Ramit.

  50. bea

    one of my relatives by marriage loves to engage in what i refer to as “misery poker.” if you have a cold, she has the flu. if she asks how you are and you say “I’ve been tired, up with the baby, etc.” she’ll respond “when my son was a baby he literally never slept. he was awake from two months until his first birthday, and so was i.”

    and most of the time it’s either a gross exaggeration, or an outright lie. it’s like doesn’t know how to converse in anything other than complaints.

    • Caroline

      I have a blood relative like this. Perhaps you and I are related?

  51. Amanda

    When I was 22 I was freelancing had a married studio manager at the steadiest studio in town that would have his lead assistant grab me from another shooting bay to assist them. With in minutes of me entering his studio he would have a raging boner, and would then freak out and start explaining to everyone some tidbit about the art history of Jesus iconography, or the symbolism of the unicorn in tapestries, . He would then send me back to whatever I was doing. This pattern would repeat every couple of hours at least 1 day a week. It was sexual harassment, but it was so weird, and so awkward. It was one part bad joke, on part rambler, and one part advice giver. All of it horrible.

  52. N

    I think I was/am the awkward person myself. Saying the wrong, awkward things and lacking social graces in some areas—at least according to Eastern cultural standards. I also have to thank my pretty sheltered religious background for my awkwardness. One of my friends comes from that same background. He’s actually a nice guy and there were times he helped me out, but he’s one of the most annoying and socially awkward people I’ve ever met. Our mutual friends pity him, avoid him like the plague, or both. He’s clearly sexually frustrated and wants to have a life partner, but the way he’s going about achieving his goals is just so TASTELESS. He gets into people’s business (especially if they’re his female friends) and saying that he just cares as a friend. LOL!!! He likes to talk about NSFW X-rated stuff and asks REALLY personal questions (habits, fantasies, etc.). And then he’d give “tips” and “advice” in regards to those things. (No wonder people avoid him! And he wonders why he’s not having success in finding that special someone!!! Well, he did for a while, but for some reason that didn’t work out.) One time at church, he greeted one of my friends (who’s quite well-endowed upstairs) while rubbing his chest against hers in the front of a bunch of people! CREEPY! Obviously she NEVER wanted to meet or speak with him EVER again. And oh, he’s also been known to start political arguments, even with people he has just met. Talk about INSTANT connection KILLER! And he likes to “stalk” people, following them around and hovering above them, saying that he just “cares.” I managed to avoid him for a long time and then he tried to talk to me via Facebook private message last July and then over a week ago. Sure enough, the most recent PMs revolved around his obsessions.

  53. Andie

    Oh…. I have another good one!!

    I totally forgot until now. In one of my awesome adult office jobs, I sat next to this black dude who seemed pretty normal.

    Until one day when he pulled out some floss at his desk (which was 2 feet from mine since at the time we were using a temporary office until the new one was finished) and proceeded to floss his teeth.


    I grimaced and looked away! A manager saw my face and once he noticed what was going on, he scolded my weird ass co-worker.

  54. Sarah

    I would like to think that my weird rambler conversationalist who does not understand any social cues takes the absolute cake. On my first day, within 30 minutes of me meeting him at work he had told me that his stepfather not only beat him & his brother, but held him, his brother & mother hostage with a shotgun on Christmas day (when he was a child.) I kid you not, within 30 minutes of me meeting him.

    Later in the year he had a brain aneurysm & survived it, which we were all grateful for because we cared for his health, however when he finally returned to work, not one single half day (because often it would be mentioned several times) would go by without him mentioning the Aneurysm, and going on at length about how his life has changed this way or the other & the incredible pain he is in. Whilst this might sound uncaring (I wouldn’t wish it on anyone!) he could bring it down to once a week instead of several times a day!

    Incredibly passionate about his football team & football in general & would go on endlessly for hours if you let him. I once wore giant red headphones to drown out the noise around me in the office & he sat directly opposite me (we could see each other over the top of the divider) he continued to talk to me, & ask me why I was wearing headphones (!!!!)

    • Kishan

      It would definitely be extremely hard to work with someone like that, but at the same I feel sorry for the guy. Honestly, how can he even hold down a job?

  55. Amy

    I am the most awkward person I know, a rambler. But if I could draw attention to another group of people that fascinate me…the people that say something aloud, to no one in particular, but really want to be acknowledged. It’s the guy who walks by my desk every day and makes a random comment about the weather or the lighting…to no one in particular. He doesn’t eye contact with me, but there’s no one else around, and he doesn’t stop to talk. Or the woman standing behind me in line, talking about how silly it is that there are no other lanes open – to no one in particular, just talking. Eventually she gets louder and fake laughs at her own comments. Still, no one says anything to her, because she hasn’t made eye contact. I feel the need to validate their feelings, but at the same time, they make me feel awkward.


    Very funny!! I used to be the “BAD JOKER”, not anymore!!!!

  57. Caroline

    I used to get a little nervous/awkward when meeting and talking to new people. The height of this awkwardness was when I went up to introduce myself to a new girl I’d about. When she was cool and unfriendly towards me, I got even more anxious and didn’t know how to react/get out of the situation. So I bit my purse strap. I was holding my purse by the shoulder strap, in front of me. I literally lifted the strap to my mouth and bit down on it. I didn’t know I was doing it until it was in my mouth, and then my brain said to my body, ‘WTF ARE YOU DOING??’

    I practiced talking to strangers a lot after that, and thankfully have NEVER EATEN MY PURSE SINCE!

  58. viviana

    The Rambler!…. Oooooh, the rambler… I know a co-worker or two that suffer from the “ramblings” . The worst one catches me on a daily basis. Just. when. I, I’ve tried so many different things at this point, even leaving without her noticing, but she makes sure to make up for it the next day. haha I used to dread the end of the day because of it…

    5 years later I simply go along with her and have learned to enjoy the ride. At the end of the day, she just wants to talk. And by now, thanks to her never ending ramblings, we’ve come to know each other pretty well.

  59. Serafina

    Einstein: This guy has all the answers for any question, random, serious, crazy, posed by anyone within earshot. His answers are never simple- in fact they always include words with a minimum average of 18 letters. Usually, his answer launches him into a 30 minute long explanation, during which he compares his answer to the economic condition in The Maldives logically and thoroughly. Despite the fact that everyone in the office is staring at him with a faraway longing, he never seems to notice the awkward silence when he steps off his soapbox. Clearly, he perceives his own intelligence has easily surpassed that of every human being, regardless of the latter’s degree of formal education.

    The “Richard” (no offense, Rick): The epitomy of misery, this character decidedly spreads his pessimistic view of the world without bias. In comparison, The Grinch and Scrooge more closely resemble The Messiah than Lucifer. It is often best to stay a minimum of 300 yards removed from The “Richard” in order to thwart any stray raindrops coming from the black clouds constantly looming directly over his head. Nothing seems to go his way, he could fall into a lilac bush and would come out smelling like the manure it was planted in.

  60. Elizabh

    I have a coworker who cannot answer a question. She cannot project or summarize or present a conclusion. Instead she rambles on about special circumstances, variables, possibilities. The best part is, when you ask her a question directly she looks at you, doesn’t answer, and raises alternate eyebrows while she is thinking, looking like a golden retriever that is trying to figure out if we’re going to play fetch or go for a walk. Fetch? Walk? Fetch? Walk? Someday I want to point in the distance & yell “squirell!!” and see if she goes running.

  61. Jules

    Evidently I am a magnet for our office TMI-ers! I had our resident office rambler ask me about my lunch (which I bring from home because I have a restricted diet – which I keep to myself for the most part). But when I was asked why I bring my lunch to office pizza parties, I did mention that I have ‘allergies’. Well that really launched my-worker into over-sharing all of his gluten intolerance issues including an in depth explanation of his bowel problems associated with it…. all WHILE I AM EATING. Please, please help us with some tips on how to not be that guy, and more importantly how to stop that guy.

  62. Travis

    My father was always one to talk to anyone and everyone and always shared too much information. He once shared info with my wife (we’d been married just a couple months) that should never leave the bedroom…she never talked to him on the phone again after It was just awkward to be in public with him since I never knew what controversial topic he would being up next…once while in a fruit market outside Detroit in a ethnically diverse crowd he starts talking about illegal immigration and deportation which somehow segued into abortion rights.

  63. stace

    Awkward people don’t bother me – passive agressive bitchy women are the worst. I’ve had women shove me at the photocopier and try and sabotage me due to jealousy.
    The main awkward I get is my knack for being a nut magnet and for people telling me their person issues. Two people confided to prior suicide attempts on the SAME day at the photocopier, different times and one asked me on a date after (The Sympathy Shag Plea). Me: “hi how’s your day going?” (puts paper in bypass tray). Weird Dude: “Pretty good, but I am thinking of what to feed my pussy tonight. Having a cat for a wife is pretty good but you can’t forget to feed her or she scratches.” Me: ignores this”Ha, I am going swimming. Good to exercise after work.” Weird Dude: “Actually when I was married to a vindictive saboteur taking the form of a human woman, I used to get scratched all the time.” Me: Politely smiles, trying to gather up my printing. “Weird dude lifts shirt, gut hangs, shows me mark on his back. “See that there, that’s what the wife did when she tried to kill me with a fork when I was sleeping at night. I work up to a a fork in my back.” Me: “For real?! Sorry to hear bout that, can you pull your shirt down?” Dude: “It’s alright I went through darkness, I ended up trying to kill myself after that. There were some dark days but I am looking for a real woman now, someone a bit like you, who is genuine and considerate.” ME: “Glad you are okay then, well, good you do the walking group as well, exercise is good. WEll. – ” DUDE: ” but last year I had a scare with bowel cancer and I realised I am alive, I need alone time, me and my cat. I haven’t slept with a woman in ten years since the wife left but I think about it sometimes, when I look at attractive women like yourself.” “Ha, dude, chill out, ha, have a good afternoon I better get back to work.” HELP.

  64. Ben

    I used to work with someone that was a “advice giver” and “rambler”. Because she is older than me and I was new to the job, she would ramble on and on about this was how to do this or this was how to do that. After the first week or so another coworker said to ignore her, because she did most of her job wrong.

  65. Kishan

    I’m one of the most awkward people I know. I’m probably the worse “type” because when I don’t know what to say, I often just don’t say anything. Then there is just silence (it’s so common for me that it’s no longer awkward – in fact I sometimes enjoy it). I recently realized that allowing silence in a conversation could make it seem like I’m invalidating the thing the other person is saying. But really, I just don’t know what to do next. When I spend all day doing technical work, it’s really hard for me to transition into “social mode”. When I’m working I get really matter of fact and emotionless about stuff, but then afterwards I’m stuck in this robot mode where I can’t relate to people. It really sucks and I wish I could find a way to deal with it. The only times interactions go smoothly for me are when I give in to apathy and no longer give a shit.

  66. ROss

    Two past crimes of my own, both of which I realize were related to what Ramit calls inner scripts.

    Too numerous to count are the people to whom I’ve come across as arrogantly aloof, even angry, through awkward quietness and failure to engage in conversation beyond curt, one-sentence responses. I excused this personality flaw as their under-appreciation for introverts, or the fact that I was just a serious person who didn’t like small talk.

    And while occasionally these were part of the issue, the root of my problem was the belief that “I have nothing to offer anyone, nothing in me worth knowing,” and a perfectionistic fear of others’ opinions of me.

    Secondly, a more gender-specific variation on the first theme:

    Under a combination of fear of hurting others’ feelings and a false belief that “women find me unattractive, awkward, weird,” I have failed to pick up on (what I realize in 20/20 retrospection were) obvious signals of attraction and flirtation, and thus unintentionally lead on not one or two, but seven women, if not more. Then, being too cowardly to confess my mistake and clear up the misunderstanding verbally, I abruptly broke contact with them, causing them, I can only imagine, much pain and confusion.

  67. Padmini

    Loved your blog its full of diverse and interesting articles. I would fall in the advise giver category. While I try to curb the instinct to spout advise about everything it still gets the better of me many times. I dread the number of people looking to commit my homicide 🙂

  68. Athena

    Oh god, I’m a Rambler! I just got a trainee and the poor guy must be sick of hearing me digress on EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME D:

  69. Rupert Gomer

    Some times its a pain in the ass to read what people wrote but this web site is very user friendly ! .

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