10. Making a bagel? (or any other delicious food item that is being prepared in front of you)

That's right, he's making a bagel.  There it is.  An Everything bagel toasted and loaded with butter.  And it's within reaching distance.  You want one too… but you're too lazy to make one and too much of a pussy to ask if he would slice another.  The best you could do was inquire about what you and he already knew.  That he was indeed making a bagel.

Possible substitution – "Will you make me one too?"

9. Are we going out tonight?
(applies to a group of friends)

Yes, because you were always going out.  It's 8pm on a Friday night and there's a group already formed.  Everyone is sitting around repeating the same question: "Are we going out tonight."  Eventually, a few of you will say, "I don't know if I want to go out tonight" and "I'm not really in the mood to drink."  Then one of you, as the ritual calls for, makes a proclamation: "That's it… we're going out!"  Everyone will rally behind the idea as if it were new and exciting.  But what you forget is that you were always going out.  It was inevitable and started by gathering together in the first place.

Possible substitution – "Who's driving?"

8. Are you going out tonight?
(applies to someone you dislike)

It'sa Saturday afternoon at the 7-11.  You've dropped in from college and there's the kid you hated in high school ordering a Big-Bite.  Hea ssumes friendship and begins small-talk.  You just can't help yourself: "Going out tonight?"  He's going to give you a range of bars he frequents in two towns that couldn't be further away from each other.  While you listen, the urge to stab yourself is strong.  At least you now you have a list of places not to go.

Possible deterrent from further interaction – "Wanna masturbate in the same room tonight?"

7. Are you OK?

Most likely someone died, I lost my job or I'm sick… and most ofthe time, you knew beforehand.  "Poor Ryan, did you hear the news?" This is usually told to you after you've announced "I'm going to see Ryan today."  Upon seeing me, you ask if I'm OK.  No, I'm not.  I'm obviously not doing well but you already knew that. 

Possible substitution – "Would a blow-job ease the pain?"

6. What's new?

Not a fucking thing is new with the person asking this question.  If something were new, he would care less about what's new with anyone else.  Asking "what's new" only puts the question-poser in a bad mood because he finds out that other people are doing new shit and he's not.

Possible substitution – "Would you mind keeping your personal achievements out of our conversation as to accommodate my low self-esteem?" 

5. How's your family?


Unless you grew up together, the person asking this question wants to fuck your sister.  He'll start with a smokescreen by asking how your family is.  The next question is always the same: How's your sister?  Respond by stating she has an STD and see if the question persists.

Possible substitution – "Would it be OK if I ask your sister out?"

4. How was it?

It wasn't all that great… that's why I'm back.  If you've had the pleasure of moving somewhere considered sexy (NYC, LA, Paris, Dubai) but moved back after it didn't work out, this question will haunt you.  "I've always wanted to move there" comes next, which is followed by an excuse that kept them in New Jersey.

Possible substitution – "Are you happy to be back home?" 

3. What does it mean?

You'll find yourself asking this question of someone with a tattoo.  If it's mermaid wrapped in barbed-wire with '10-09-85' inscribed in her flipper, avoid the conversation.  But the guy at the gym has you trapped.  With his sleeve rolled up, he looks at you for a response.  You'll either go with "nice tattoo" or "what does it mean?" Always go with "nice tattoo" because it has the power to stop an explanation.  If you inquire about the tattoo, you'll get a narrative about his best friend who didn't wear a seat-belt.

Possible follow-up – "I hate seat-belts too."

2. Do you smell that?

Of course I do.  Everyone does, but we still ask this question. It's our round-about declaration that we're not to blame.  It also helps us cope by reminding ourselves that others are suffering as well.

Possible substitution – "Are you breathing through your mouth?"

1. Is he related to so-and-so?

In most cases, I've got no fucking clue.  But we've engaged in a conversation where I've mentioned a third-party who you have no prior knowledge of.  And this will bother you because you honestly thought you knew, or at least have heard of, everyone.  When I mention I went to Six Flags with a John Smith, you're going to make that inquisitiveface and then eureka… you've made a possible connection.  "Is he related to Bob Smith?"  I'm going to say no regardless.

Possible substitution – "Do John Smith and I have mutual friends on Facebook?"