There’s a meetup happening this weekend in Bristol, UK.

Hello, Captain! We at Bristol are running another meetup – details below, brazenly copy/pasted from the Facebook event. Apologies for the last-minute reporting, hope it’s not too late to get it on the main page.

Facebook event:

Plangent honkings and pre-season’s greetings, fellow awkwardeers! Get ready to start your pengines and synchronise your swatches for Bristol Awkward Army Meetup: Doodle Edition.


11:00AM, 6th December
The Canteen, 80 Stokes Croft, Bristol, BS1 3QY


We’re going to be chatting, sketching and maybe playing some drawing games. If previous meetups are any indication, there may also be pancakes and tea and lovely people.


Nothing! Pens and paper will be provided. If you have your own favourite colour though then you should definitely bring it, because nobody will ever love burnt fuchsia as much as you do.

The Canteen is wheelchair-accessible with a disabled bathroom, and caters for organic, vegan and gluten-free diets. Parking is free for an hour, or all-day for £5. More details (including a sample menu) on their website:

I will be there from 11:00 and will have some manner of stuffed animal (genus tbc). Hope to see you all there!



Have fun! As a reminder, you can plan your own Meetup anywhere in the world. Guidelines here.

If you’re in Chicago, and you’re free on Tuesday night, come hear me read a story at This Much Is True. 7:30 pm, Mrs. Murphy & Sons Irish Bistro, 3905 N Lincoln Ave. Doors open at 7 pm, no cover or door charge. I’ll most likely read the astronaut story if you want to read along at home, and there will be other writers sharing true tales.

Speaking of stories, Dana Norris, founder of Story Club, is doing an advice column at Role/Reboot and is actively seeking questions. Ethics and good taste forbid me from directly forwarding her half my inbox, but go! Get in on the ground floor! Email is deardana AT rolereboot DOT com  ORG. She specifically requested questions about FEELINGS.

And now, the big thing: The London Awkwardeers are celebrating two years of monthly socializing. From organizer Kate:

Two years!  Incredible!  December London meetup as follows:

Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, SE1 8XX near Waterloo station, 13th December, 11am onwards.

Amazingly, the group has now been running for two years, and this will be our 25th meeting.  Also it’s the holiday season.

Therefore, 2nd birthday/Christmas/holiday/Saturday party!

Please bring and share food if you want to – any and all food is welcome, please just bring an ingredients list so that people can check for intolerances and other restrictions.  And if it’s messy food, please bring trays/plates/napkins.  :)

This venue is working out really well.

They sell food in a cafe (standard sandwiches etc.), but they also don’t mind people bringing food in from outside. There are several other local places where you can buy stuff as well. The excellent food market outside has loads of different food options, which can fit most food requirements, or you can also bring a packed lunch.
Meet on the fourth floor, outside the Blue Bar (go up in the JCB lift, lift 7, which is bright yellow and quite musical).

Here is the internal map of the Royal Festival Hall:

I will have my Cthulhu with me, which looks like this:  One time I forgot it but I will do my best this time, however if I forget again I will put up a sign. I have long brown hair and glasses.

The venue is accessible via a lift, and has accessible toilets.

The London Awkward group has a Facebook page, which is here:  There is also a thread in the new forums for saying hello.

My email is Kate DOT Towner AT Gmail DOT com

(January meetup will be on the 10th.)


Incredible work, Kate & fellow London people.

Hello, we’re doing another board games event for single people at Geek Bar Beta, and will most likely get into some kind of monthly groove with these.


  • Thursday, December 11
  • 6-11pm
  • Geek Bar Beta @Storefront Company
  • 1941 W. North Avenue
  • Many many board games & console games are available at the bar, but you can bring your own – lots of people did last time.

You can RSVP at the Meetup event page, in the comments here, or you can just show up on the day as the mood strikes you. We had quite a turnout last time.

I could use suggestions for more geeky coloring pages.

In other news, I’m slogging through grading & finals right now, so posting will be light and the box is temporarily closed to new questions. The forums are open for business, though, so go check them out!

Every month we answer the things people typed into search engines like they are actual questions, adding punctuation but leaving the wording intact. If it sounds like me saying “but you could just not” 20 times in a row, that’s pretty much what happens every month with these. Enjoy?

Read More

Dear Captain Awkward,

I’ve recently been making an effort to meet new people via online dating, and it’s been pretty great so far – I’ve met a few cool, interesting people who I enjoy hanging out and exploring potential romantic stuff with. Most of them have super interesting lives and a lot of cool stories to tell, which I like listening to. The problem is, they never ask me about myself and it’s starting to bother me!

I was raised to believe that it’s polite to demonstrate an interest in the person you’re talking to, and that asking them questions about themselves and their opinions is a good way to make someone feel at ease when you’ve just met. Plus, when I like someone, I usually WANT to know all about them and to collect as much info about this cool stranger as possible. The combination of the above means that on first dates I tend to spend a lot of time asking my date about the interests they listed on their profile, what they think about X global event, what they like to do in the city, etc., but I’ve started to notice that the effort is rarely (and sometimes never) reciprocated. This includes people who messaged me first and asked me out, so I know they’re interested in me romantically. I date people of all genders, so I know it’s not just an entitled dude thing (although the dudes are worse).

I’ve tried leaving pauses after a topic of conversation wraps up, for them to ask me something about myself (doesn’t work, they usually start telling a story about themselves or drag out the previous topic a little longer), and occasionally I’ll answer the question I just asked them uninvited (e.g. Me: “So where are your favourite places to hang out in the city?” Date: “Oh, I like X Y Z” Me: “Cool, I’ve been planning to check out Z sometime! Personally I like F and G”), but it makes me feel selfish to do this too often when they’re not showing more than a polite interest. I’m pretty sure it’s not shyness that’s stopping them from asking me about myself, because there are plenty of questions I ask them that they could easily ask back onto me (this is another thing that I was taught it’s polite to do when possible, but I accept that mileage may vary on things like this).

Plenty of these dates lead to a second or third date, and the trend of me feeling like I’m interviewing them continues even when we get to know each other better (or at least, I know THEM). Am I just dating assholes, or is there some script or social convention that I’m missing out on here? I’m not looking for a date to talk AT or for our dates to turn into back-and-forth quizzing sessions, but it’s starting to make me feel uninteresting and unappreciated!


The Date Interviewer

Dear Dating Interviewer:

Hello, you are me from three years ago. Open to dating. Interested in meeting lots of people. Able to carry on a conversation with most anyone and put them somewhat at ease. Meeting a lot of basically okay people with whom I could pass a pleasant hour, but few kindred spirits. Meeting a lot of expectant looks across cafe tables. Feeling sometimes like I was putting on a show.

You could try keeping quiet for a bit and seeing if the other person jumps in, but honestly I think you should keep doing what you’re doing, but use it more as a screening process. If you get through Date 2, and the other person hasn’t asked you a single question despite you giving them many openings to do so, you know that they are not for you and there should be no Date 3 (unless they make all the effort to make one happen and make some kind of massive conversational rally). You can also say, explicitly, “I’d love to hang out again next week, why don’t you choose the place” if you’ve been taking more of the lead in planning stuff. The person will either rise to the occasion or not.

And when you run across someone who takes as much of an interest in you as you do in them, where it feels like a conversation rather than an interview, where things flow and it doesn’t feel like you are doing the work of keeping a conversation going, you’ll know you’ve clicked with someone. This is less about finding people who are interested in you (a lot of them are, and a lot of them will be) and more an exercise in finding out who passionately interests you.

Keep doing what you’re doing. Take breaks when it gets to be too much. Among the moths drawn to your flame, you’ll find someone who burns as bright as you.


Captain Awkward




Have a difficult family? Dealing with a lot of stress right now? Dreading food policing? Grieving? If your mantra at this time of year is “Please let me just make it to 2015,” this is your thread. Lay it on us.

If you love the holidays, your thread is here. Go and deck some halls!

Comments closed as of 11/29. Thank you all. 

A tiny Christmas tree with Omar finger puppet

My actual Christmas tree from a few years back.



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