We need a word for:

  • The person who introduces someone into a conversation instead of letting them jump in.
  • The person who always waits for the other person to text first
  • The person who always texts first
  • The person who only texts you to arrange meetups/parties
  • The person who never texts to arrange meetups/parties
  • The thing someone did that everyone will be nervously remembering later, when they've left
  • The moment where you use a joke to turn around a tone and save someone embarrassment
  • The moment where someone visibly decides to bail on a serious topic by derailing it into a joke
  • The moment when you realize the other person is substantially more uncertain or ill-informed than you thought
  • The moment when you realize you don't understand something yourself and need to abandon ship
  • The weird feeling that accompanies an off-hand mention of something you're sure someone is judging you about, but they've got it wrong, but you don't care enough to set the record straight
  • The sense that other people should take your personal judgment of them more seriously, particularly when it is negative
  • The desire to have someone give you their opinion about something as quickly as possible so you can frame your joke in the way they won't be offended by, but you also want to avoid tipping your hand and revealing what the joke is about, to maintain the surprise
  • The comment needed to jump into a particular conversation
  • The time between when someone has started listening and clearly wants to join a conversation and when they first speak
  • The email you get from someone you have a good opinion of but aren't sure how to have recurring conversations with
  • The boring and habitual low-stakes texts messages that are the time-delayed small talk equivalent so nobody ever feels it's been too long to start a conversation
  • The suspicion that something you just heard, while not even remotely offensive, could be used by people online to deem someone deeply offensive or insensitive, for instance, the claim "human DNA is organized into 23 pairs of chromosomes." That's a perfectly innocuous and accurate enough statement I heard today – but which isn't true for people with Down's Syndrome (who have a third copy of chromosome 21 – presumably this would also apply to other aneuploidies) and some extreme cruelty might end with the suggestion that the claim about "human DNA" dehumanizes people with Down's Syndrome. I'm sorry there's no non-bummer example for this one. If I'm the only one who cringes in fear every time I hear totally innocuous things like the DNA organization comment, then perhaps this isn't needed. Hopefully we'd all just agree we're all humans, and we're all doing our best, and sometimes we just want to make simple statements, without any implications about anything. It seems like we should use a term like "judgment creeps" – it gave me the judgment creeps imagining that poor comment about DNA getting someone battered, for instance.
  • The nominal task you use to make sure people are still comfortable during the momentary silences
  • When someone tries to assert a wrongness, not directed at them specifically, because they aren't harmed per se, but they have some abstract statistical/societal rank ordering issue. "Status battle" seems as close as we might get.
  • The romantic sense of a story that you don't share with your conversation partner, so you avoid showing how much you're moved by something, even at the risk that they aren't inspired by it as much as you are.
  • The strange (and hopefully mild) insanity loneliness can cause, even after short amounts of time
  • The deliberate escalation of awkwardness to see who is bothered more by it
  • The tinge of annoyance you feel when someone doesn't follow a standard rule of etiquette, but their violation is so minor you're unable to correct it without yourself violating etiquette
  • The difficulty in suggesting that a problem ought not to be solved, at least in any way the people talking can actually achieve.
  • The hostile-to-emotion tactic of characterizing an event by someone's reaction to it – anything from "I'm sorry you were offended" to "getting angry about this politician is offputting to people who don't care about the issue as much as you".
  • The complacency that modern social media instills, where people aren't actually regularly corresponding with people if they can see their broadcast updates (n.b. I'm serious about people emailing me if they want, the link at the end of every post is for real)
  • The suspicion everyone else in a conversation knows something you do not
  • The strange repititive conversation some people sometimes have, as though they can't think of another thing
  • The aggressively boring conversation of people who have (perhaps through many decades of experience, as it is almost exclusively older people) decided not to care one whit about their audience
  • The frustration of having someone ignore your warnings about liars / malicious manipulators, knowing that the very thing you think is dangerous is precisely why you'll be ignored
  • The intense (and not often rationalized) resistance you feel at accepting even very good friend's recommendations for media
  • The empty feeling where we think we should care about something but definitely do not. Perhaps with a story, we could learn to care, but we don't always get that chance before a demand to feel and express an emotion about things.
  • The genre gap between what someone is clearly obsessed with and the type of things you've enjoyed before.
  • The suspicion, without doing any searching at all, that you've thought of something important and utterly original despite being prosaic and not in an area of your expertise
  • The security of trusting someone that what you're doing, even though you don't understand it, will be worthwhile
  • The gut feeling that something just doesn't seem right, because it's too plausible and simple things are so rarely true
  • The confusion of viewpoint and merit that so casually lets us e.g. think we are saving money because things are on sale (when we're actually spending money ) or describe all homes as assets despite costing money to maintain and yielding no profit.
  • Relatedly, the confusion of marginal and non-marginal replacement e.g. I bought some shares of Apple because I think they've still got the best products on the market
  • Our shyness about telling people we disagree with them, despite knowing they've revealed it to us – otherwise we wouldn't know to be shy
  • The strange patience required to let people do something totally ineffective
  • The generosity required to join them
  • The ability to feel comfortable in cold weather
  • The ability to feel comfortable in hot weather (a quite different skill!)
  • The appreciation of quotidian things, like the taste of water, or sitting on your porch silently
  • The desperate need for novelty, if only to stimulate your own imagination
  • The depth of imagination that requires practice to cultivate, and upon developing the skill, makes you concerned about how easy it was to live without and how hard it would be to tell if someone else has it
  • The gregariousness that comes from a chemical alteration
  • The way we handle friendships when that gregariousness wears off
  • The parasocial relationships that pretend to be normal relationships
  • The type of loneliness that seeks a romantic partner mostly for someone to cuddle up with at night and hug every morning
  • What we learn about someone from how they go about describing something
  • The deep disappointment in yourself upon hearing a compliment that someone thought you were fishing for
  • The awkwardness of realizing you didn't know something, you just knew something similar, e.g. you haven't met them before, just someone that looks like them, or you don't remember who invented the television, just the person who invented radio.
  • The frustration of work hard won
  • The (fleeting) glory of having defeated a challenge
  • The (enduring, but limited) pride of having made something worthwhile
  • The desperate need to escape a social situation that seems designed to frustrate you
  • The comfort you get from someone failing to surprise you

(updates as linguistic archeologists chime in, or I have a term I like)