“I Also Miss The Open World”: Three Tips To Sound Like A Human Who Is Struggling With Isolation
As the regular world grinds to a halt thanks to the coronavirus outbreak, more and more of what are, biologically speaking, your people are retreating indoors. Now, those people are quite rudely getting all up in your grill and clogging up your server bandwidth with their talk about the outside world and how much they miss it, lying to both you and themselves.
If you’re struggling to cope with all of these people who are “struggling to cope”, we’ve put together a quick list of how to sound perfectly normal when you interact with them. Read on!
1. Add a small, believable detail to the conversation
What really helps sell a convincing lie is a small detail – something so inconsequential that there’s no reason to have made it up, but believable enough that it adds a touch of colour to something which might otherwise seem improbable.
For example, let’s say that your mates on voice chat are saying something like “I just want to be able to go outside again”, something that you would not normally dream of doing regardless of whether or not there was an unprecedented global medical emergency.
Obviously you can’t just tell them that the outside world “sucks ass”, and simply saying “I, too, feel regret about this situation” sounds robotic and inhuman. What to do? Try adding a small detail based on your own understanding of the outside world, such as “Yes, I miss harvesting trees for wood”, or “I agree, the encounters in the foothills were very rich in XP.” Your friends will really believe that you, too, are maintaining a standard shower schedule during self-isolation.
2. Pretend to have relatable tech issues during meetings
Although your understanding of social rituals is very poor at the best of times, even you have probably noticed that all of these self-isolating normies who are suddenly insisting on virtual meetings are finding it hard to get their audio and video configured correctly. Aside from being just a disgusting indictment of their many failures, this wastes valuable time that you could be spending not interacting with them and focusing on calling out that Reddit fuckwit who tried to tell you that your comments about Tifa’s thighs in Final Fantasy VII Remake were “unnecessary”.
Unfortunately the power of social ritual is one of the things that, according to so-called “experts”, plays a “pivotal role” in relationship building. The take-away here? Try “accidentally” leaving your audio muted or your video off when starting a call, demonstrating that you too are capable of the sort of errors you personally would not conscience from a toddler and that you certainly eliminated from your own life at roughly that age.
Phrases like “I can hear you, can you hear me?” may seem like the childish fumbling of a moron, but remember others will find them reassuring to hear, and will lose whatever lingering regret they may have felt about their decision to include you in the call. After a few meetings, you might feel confident enough in your new-found social solidarity to helpfully offer a few pointers, such as “Gary, I think we could all hear you better if you take your microphone out of your mouth”. Hang in there!
3. Interest-ED is interest-ING
Active listening, much like active reloading, requires the right input at the right time, marine. If you’ve mastered one then you can master the other, regardless of whether or not you hate and fear the touch of wind on your skin, and curse the sun as an ancient evil god.
Even for someone as unbelievably misanthropic as you, it can be all too easy to reflexively say “How are you?” when jumping into a match with someone, and then feel the blood drain from your face as they actually take the time to answer (a behaviour that, I think we can all agree, should be illegal).
How to respond? Obvious scam artists such as “relationship psychologists” suggest that “people enjoy it when you are actively engaged with what they are saying and ask questions that show you have been paying attention”. That sounds like bullshit to us, but if you’ve learned how to read the different audio cues during a Dark Souls boss then you should probably be able to at least say “yeah, that sucks” when someone says that they have “crippling depression” – as long as it’s not affecting their kill/death ratio, of course.
Do you have any other tips for deflecting the suspicions of your friends and colleagues? Share them in the comments – they won’t read this website anyway!