Awkward Social Navigation for the Rest of Us


I was waiting in the drive-thru line at Starbucks recently. A young man in the car ahead of me was placing his order. Except….he had no order. He just wanted to check on the status of his job application.

From the drive-thru.

That guy is not getting the job. He definitely made the employees working the window that morning laugh, but I bet he didn’t get the joke- because he wasn’t trying to be funny. He thought he should follow up in person, and figured it made no difference whether he showed up inside at the counter or outside at the window.

I guess it kind of makes sense. But couldn’t he have ordered a coffee or something? Then maybe casually asked about his application while paying? Thinking about it now, I don’t know exactly how I know not to do things like that. It’s one of a million things most of us just seem to understand. I typically know what others expect me to say or do in any given situation. I have at times pretended not to know, but I have never actually felt unsure about another person’s expectations or meaning- in person, on the phone, or in print. For most of my life I assumed everyone else understood these things, too.

They don’t.  Continue reading