This might sound a little ironic for Cracked, but I'm talking about the, "list all the things on your desk right now," or "list all the CDs you have on your shelf." I guess I'm dating myself with that one. You kids these days are all about sharing your playlists and your mp3s.
Through the generations, though, one thing has remained constant -- nobody wants to see them. There's no written record of it but I'm pretty sure Victorians often found themselves rescinding ball invitations to people who would constantly list their phonograph collections in polite conversation.
Via National Park Service
"... and Electric Light Quadrille and Claire de Lune ..."
Even in "10 favorite games" threads, most people are just skimming your list to see if you have any games they like and skipping the rest. You might think this is the perfect place to turn people on to your favorite obscure Japanese game that's never been translated to English and you had to play with a phrasebook in one hand and a controller in the other (but the story was JUST AMAZING). But here's what other people are going to see:
On the other hand, there might be some other random person out there who also loves Radiant Potato Warrior IV or whatever, and you might find a new friend to be sad with together, so there's that.
There is a threshold for how interesting the average stranger will find your account of "what Stephanie did" or this crazy drama you got into in your WoW guild. And this threshold is basically felony level behavior.
Via U.S. Forest Service
Basically, it should look something like this.
Did Stephanie gut a man? Did someone go to jail as a result of your guild catfight? No? Then your story is probably absolutely fascinating to people who know Stephanie or your guild, and nobody else. The fact that she totally called you a "ho bag" or that you both liked the same guy and sent him sexy pictures is not going to get me to look up from my newspaper, even if I am reading an article about corporate earnings. It might even make that article look more interesting.
Suddenly interesting somehow.
Interpersonal conflicts are always absolutely captivating to the people involved in them and your own breakups and rejections in particular feel like they're at a level of life-or-death importance. And they should be really important ... to you. That's why we have the whole concept of a family unit, or a circle of friends, so there can be like 2 to 10 people just as vitally interested in your important, but not unusual, relationship problems as you are.
Via Wikimedia Commons
"No! He didn't!"
The world is full of millions of family units, each one going through their own drama, most of them really similar except for a few details. So when you tell someone what's going on with your group, and it isn't amazingly bizarre or criminal, chances are they've seen the same thing in their group at some point in their lives, and their homegrown incident will be much more interesting to them because it happened to their homies.
Just think about it. People yell at each other and throw things at each other in relationships all the time, and never get a news story written about them. Lorena Bobbitt only hit the news because she cut a penis off.
Here is a safe-for-work reproduction of that event.
Next time you think you have a "great story" that will make strangers gasp at how crazy your friends are, ask yourself if it's penis-cutting good, because that's what we're talking about here.
As the title of the column implies, offering to tell someone about your cats is a formidable and effective threat.
It's easy for many people who own cats to observe how completely insane and mentally deficient their cats are and mistake that for a unique and interesting observation that will fascinate others. The truth is that all cats are insane. Every single one.
I mean, just look at them.
Sure, my cat is apparently autistic, while other people's cats seem to suffer from OCD or paranoid schizophrenia, but the exact diagnosis doesn't matter. The point is that, unless your cat can talk, or pass through walls, or shapeshift into human form, it's probably not much weirder than anyone else's cat.
Or unless it's a creepy talking puppet.
And thanks to the Internet, I'm afraid pretty much everyone is familiar with all the top insane cat behaviors, so much so that they are mostly inventing fictional ones now.
Cats cannot, in fact, play the piano.
Sometimes people will ask you -- maybe personally, or maybe ask people generally in a forum thread -- to talk about your cats. This might give you the impression that people out there are interested in hearing about your cats.
About 90 percent of the time, if you respond to this request, you are going to get a story in return about that person's cat or cats. I can't read minds so I'm not going to say they were just asking you to get an opening to talk about their cat -- but, hey, you draw your own conclusions.
Now here are some pictures of my cats.
And since you were clearly so interested in all of that (I didn't hear anyone say they weren't), one more.
For those of you not well-versed in cat behavior, check out 6 Adorable Cat Behaviors With Shockingly Evil Explanations. And learn more about Christina's cat in 6 Reasons Kittens Suck (Learned While Raising Them).