How To Make A New Friend Without Losing Most of Your Dignity

Everyone needs a friend, or at least one person who will pick you up at the airport or pay a ransom to a Nigerian prince.

Making new friends is never easy. However, there are ways to make the process easier. Here are just a few that don’t require paying someone to say, “No, those jeans definitely don’t make your left buttock look big.

  • Take initiative – You’ll never know if that perfect stranger you spot on the subway could be your best buddy unless you step forward and invite him hiking on the Appalachian Trail for a week.
  • Smile – A beaming grin will make you appear approachable. And even if it doesn’t lead to a burgeoning friendship, it may at least get you a good reference for some excellent psychotherapy.
  • Be a good listener – People appreciate an empathetic ear – as well as a sympathetic nose and a compassionate eyebrow.
  • Join a new club or organization – Just because a group is being monitored by the FBI doesn’t mean you won’t meet a lifelong friend at its yearly Aryan Resistance Barbecue.
  • Be open about your flaws – Sooner or later, someone will appreciate the fact that you’re a middle-aged man still living with your parents.
  • Be curious – People love to be asked questions. For example: “I noticed your name tag reads ‘Big Penis Parksdale.’ Is your middle name ‘Penis’?”
  • Try a new activity – Some of the most interesting people you’ll ever meet belong to Greek Orthodox fire walking clubs.
  • Step outside your comfort zone – Delivering a TED talk about losing your virginity to a pretzel kingpin from Königreich Romkerhall may seem like too much sharing, but how else are you going to meet other people who lost their virginity to someone from Königreich Romkerhall?
  • Be enthusiastic – You can’t imagine how many people will want to know more about you by simply screaming at the top of your lungs, “OH GOD, YES, SUPERSIZE IT!
  • Be yourself – Unless, of course you can be a more interesting version of you.

Ben Alper writes for late night talk show hosts, comedians and others. He is the author of “Thank You for Not Talking: A Laughable Look at Introverts.”

Never Go To A Discount Therapist

Real quick thoughts

  • If someone can read tea leaves or Tarot cards, should we assume they can also read a rental car agreement?
  • Never go to a discount therapist who shows you his perspiration stain and asks, “What’s the first thing that comes to your mind?”
  • Think twice about returning to a restaurant that charged you extra for the Heimlich maneuver.

I believe

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) should never be used for parking violations, and certainly not for failing to pick up your small dog’s poop.

Has this ever happened to you?

Have you ever thought a stranger is talking to you, only to realize they’re actually talking on their phone? If you’re like most people, you immediately feel embarrassed. But look at it this way: In all probability, you are a more interesting conversationalist than the person on the other end of that call. In fact, had that person been calling you, you probably would have let it gone straight to voicemail. Because, if they’re not calling to talk about last night’s orgy and networking meetup, you can’t be bothered.

Ben Alper writes for late night talk show hosts, comedians and others. He is the author of “Thank You for Not Talking: A Laughable Look at Introverts.”

For Me, All Bitch Faces Are Arresting

How can you tell if someone’s natural facial expression is a queasy grimace, commonly known as resting bitch face (RBF), or they are simply downright ornery?

As someone who’s often accused of looking like Jack the Ripper on his worst day – even while happily folding my laundry, I know what it’s like to be constantly asked, “Are you okay? Is everything alright?”

It’s precisely because of my sometime – okay, all the time – less-than-sunny facial expression that I give every angry, moping, sullen, surly face I encounter a free pass. Cutting a few ill-tempered characters some slack is a small price to pay for showing a little empathy for every RBF I encounter.

I’ll absorb an icy glance from any might-be psychopath on the off chance they are actually a wonderful person who was voted Most Unapproachable in high school.

As someone who is regularly misjudged as a threat to society or, at the very least, a threat to my book club, who am I to judge folks who don’t say “Hi” while attempting to break into my car?

So your constant look of oncoming nausea regularly causes family and friends to dial 911. Big deal. It still beats trying to force a smile whenever a sales clerk says “Have a nice day.” (Note: According to many studies, so I’ve heard, more crimes are committed by smiling sales clerks than scowling proof readers.)

Will the world ever be more accepting of sullen facial expressions? Probably not. But here’s one thing you can count on: If your angry puss ever encounters my resting bitch face, it will be met with an accepting and non-judgmental frown.

Ben Alper writes for late night talk show hosts, comedians and others. He is the author of “Thank You for Not Talking: A Laughable Look at Introverts.”

Thoughts Better Kept to Myself

  • The only time I’ve felt comfortable in a crowd was at my intervention.
  • Show me a lonely billionaire, and I’ll show you someone incapable of building a robot friend.
  • I know I should love myself, but I’m not ready for a committed relationship.
  • I cried because I had no shoes until someone said, “You have lovely toes.”
  • I don’t like to rush people. Whenever I take someone’s picture, I always say, “Count to 250 and say cheese.”
  • Bad conversation starter: Nice shopping cart. Where did you steal it?
  • You are on a train that leaves the station at noon. The train is 187 miles from its destination at 2:45 p.m. and 90 miles from its destination at 4:15 p.m. How far will the train travel before you speak to the passenger sitting next to you?
  • I coulda been a contender, but I’m horrible at job interviews.
  • Networking tip: Share your experiences. People may not connect your face with your business card, but they’ll never forget the woman who talked about her alien abduction.
  • If I always listened with my heart, what would I do with my ears? 

Ben Alper writes for late night talk show hosts, comedians and others. He is the author of “Thank You for Not Talking: A Laughable Look at Introverts.”

Speed Dating Saves Time. Why Not Speed Relationships?

Speed dating is a great way to quickly meet a lot of potential mates. Why spend an evening getting to know one person who likes candle-lit dinners and long walks on the beach when you can meet ten or twenty?

Neil, a freelance card counter from Reno, Nevada has one gone one step further. He has embraced speed relationships. “I enjoy companionship, but I’m basically a solitary person who needs his own space. After 90 minutes with someone, I’m ready to move on, go home and stare into the abyss.”

Now, using dating apps, he’s had over 1000 fulfilling relationships in the last six months.

“Speed relationships perfectly suit my lifestyle. After meeting someone online, having a great dinner and an interesting conversation, I’m ready to suggest we should start seeing other people. It doesn’t mean I’m not a romantic. I’ll always cherish our hour together as well as the Ultimate Nachos special.”

Neil says speed relationships have other advantages.

  • It’s the one and only time you’ll meet. There’s no chance your date will ever complain, “We never go anywhere!”
  • Ambivalence about introducing your new girl or guy to your parents is never an issue – unless they’re sitting in the booth next to you.
  • Height disparities are irrelevant since the relationship will probably conclude with both people sitting down.
  • As long as you space your dates at least ten minutes apart, infidelity will never be an issue.
  • You’ll be long gone before the thrill is gone.

Consider giving speed relationships a try. And remember, love is never having to say, “I promise I’ll call you.”

Ben Alper writes for late night talk show hosts, comedians and others. He is the author of “Thank You for Not Talking: A Laughable Look at Introverts.”

Social Recluse Dolly Lama Attempts Deep Thinking Record

History could be made when self-absorbed, deep thinker extraordinaire, Dolly Lama attempts a record-setting journey to her previously-unexplored emotional depths. No one has ever focused longer and more intensely on inconsequential and mundane thoughts than she, but this could be her deepest self-absorption yet.

Lama, who last year spent an amazing 329 consecutive hours wondering why a Tinder date hadn’t called her back, plans to go further while obsessing about a workmate who gave her a funny look when she asked for the time.

She also holds a previous record of 297 hours set while questioning her decision to wear a striped halter top at a friend’s cookout. That record was broken shortly after by Leo Lawnfeld who spent 311 hours fixating on an old girlfriend who left him for a gender fluid airline pilot.

Dolly has been unintentionally training hard. Her daily workout regimen includes:

  • Wondering why she’s never had a successful long-term relationship.
  • Wondering why she’s never had a successful short-term relationship.
  • Questioning why as a child she didn’t sell more Girl Scout cookies.
  • Contemplating whether she’s responsible for her sister joining a book discussion group dedicated to the works of Sidney Sheldon.
  • Worrying if anyone will notice her new Zoom background.
  • Feeling guilty because she told an automated phone solicitation to F*ck off.

Asked why she spends most of her waking hours consumed in her own thoughts, Lama thought for a few days and responded, “That’s a good question. I’ll get back to you next year with an answer.”

Ben Alper writes for late night talk show hosts, comedians and others. He is the author of “Thank You for Not Talking: A Laughable Look at Introverts.”

Things I’ve Never Told Anyone

  • I never went to my junior or senior high school proms because I was too embarrassed to admit I couldn’t pronounce “cummerbund.”

 

  • When people ask me, “What are you thinking?”, I always say what I think they want to hear – even if I’m thinking, “She should really have someone look at the mole.”

 

  • When I die, I’d like to be buried laying on my side watching TV.

 

  • The one thing I wish I could say to strangers is, “You really need to start using deodorant.”

 

  • When asked at job interviews if I like working with people, I always say “yes.” If I was totally honest, I’d say: “No, I do my best work in a moderate-sized rental storage unit.”

 

  • Whenever I wear a mask, I mumble disdainful things about people who aren’t wearing masks.

 

  • When people in passing boats wave at me, I wave back, but my heart isn’t in it.

 

  • I’m so bad at math I can’t even count calories.

 

  • If we’re introduced, I won’t remember your name, but I will remember if you’re missing a tooth.

 

  • When I voted during the last election, I took two “I Voted” stickers in case I forget to vote in the next election.

 

Ben Alper writes for late night talk show hosts, comedians and others. He is the author of “Thank You for Not Talking: A Laughable Look at Introverts.”

Thoughts While in Introvert Lockdown

  • Voted Most Likely to Have Resting Bitch Face — While taking a break from obsessing about nothing in particular, I perused my high school senior yearbook. As I thumbed through page after page of graduating senior photos, one thing stood out: Numerous classmate’s facial expressions were as grim as mine often is. In fact, they looked as if they were about to testify in front of a grand jury. And me? There I was, Mr. Bitchface beaming brighter than a Florida orange juice commercial. The irony of it all made me break out in a semi-grimace.
  • This is why you always see rabbits dining alone — According to the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, introverts are more likely to eat plant-based diets. It also explains why the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) questionnaire doesn’t ask “How would you like your steak cooked?”
  • Extroverts ahoy! — I was standing on a wharf near my house, and a pleasure boat loaded with happy passengers pulled up. They waived at me. I waived back. I felt a bit uncomfortable but also smugly proud. As my hand moved slowly back and forth, I thought: “This won’t suffice for a deep conversation, but I’m sure it will make you feel validated. And by the way, why aren’t any of you wearing masks?

Ben Alper writes for late night talk show hosts, comedians and others. He is the author of “Thank You for Not Talking: A Laughable Look at Introverts.”

Things I’m Selfishly Thankful for During the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • I have enough toilet paper.
  • My wife and I are getting along even though we don’t always agree on disinfecting etiquette.
  • Since I’m an introvert, I’ve adapted easily to social distancing. Quite frankly, I was disappointed when I heard it was six feet and not six miles.
  • After being asked for lifetime, “How come you never smile?’, I love wearing a medical mask. It means I no longer have to lie and respond, “I’m grieving over the death of my pet ameba, Lewis.”
  • I’ve learned to appreciate food that most shoppers don’t hoard—like seagull-flavored gelato.
  • My political action committee has only been Zoom bombed once, by a lonely naked guy who has since become the only group member who truly gets me.
  • When listening to Bob Fosse musicals, my jazz hands are just as expressive with nitrile gloves.
  • Since I’ve always worked at home, I already have cubicles for me and my dog.
  • I live in a state which places more importance in increasing testing than reopening tattoo parlors and Waffle Houses.
  • Did I say I have enough toilet paper?

Ben Alper writes for late night talk show hosts, comedians and things. He is the author of “Thank You for Not Talking: A Laughable Look at Introverts.”

Man Survives Titanic Sinking While Avoiding Eye Contact

SurvivorMost people are familiar with the British passenger liner  Titanic, On April 15, 1912 during its maiden voyage, it struck an iceberg and sank to the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean taking with it more than 1500 passengers.

Few people are familiar with one of the 498 survivors, introvert Felix Flambeau who might have saved the ship had it not been for his reclusive ways.

Flambeau, an itinerant toothpick designer from Boonton, New Jersey was taking his first-ever vacation. Using his life savings, he booked a luxury one-bedroom cabin on the ocean liner. Initially, he was having the time of his life: avoiding passengers, avoiding the crowded buffet lines and avoiding invitations to enter limbo contests.

All that changed on the evening of April 15th when, while seeking some solitude underneath an unoccupied deck chair, he spotted an enormous iceberg ahead of the ship.

Sensing the seriousness of the situation but not wanting to approach a crewmember much less make eye contact with them, Flambeau leaped into action. He made a mental note to write the captain a serious warning note and slip it under his door the next morning.

Tragically, the Titanic struck the iceberg and sank before dawn, denying Felix a place in history as the world’s first introverted hero.

As the ship began to sink into the freezing North Atlantic Ocean, passengers desperately fought to board crowded lifeboats. The dazed Flambeau stood by, witnessing the ensuing chaos. Suddenly, a voice from a panic-stricken hoard offered him a place in their jam-packed boat. Felix didn’t want to go down with the ship, but the idea of spending time in a crowded vessel, making small talk with total strangers was more than he could imagine. He politely declined their generous offer.

Felix Flambeau leaped off the ship’s bow and floated alone in the ice-cold water for two days. During this time rescue ships passed within whispering distance, but he remained silent, not wanting to attract attention to himself. Finally, he was rescued by an Argentine trawler which had spotted “a strange man floating in the water writing post cards.” For the solitary gentleman from Booton, New Jersey, it was the most peaceful and enjoyable part of his vacation.