Etiquette Guide: What To Do When You Bump Into An Ex-Member Of Your Church Who Left Because The Deacons Let Him Get Gored By A Bull 

"We have turned the corner and want only the best for our brethren."

Crossing paths with former members of your church can be tricky and awkward. What should you say? How should you say it? Do you mention the jet ski that you just crashed into Lincoln’s Tomb? We’re here to help. Here’s are some helpful etiquette rules to remember during this uncomfortable rendezvous:

Ease into the encounter by drawing one square on the floor for each of you to stand in, four feet apart. Conversation is to be avoided during this initial stage. As soon as the other party approaches, pull out a sharpie and go to work. We recommend setting the tone by standing on your left leg only and naming as many sailing knots as you can. Allow him to interject, when the time is right, with the “square knot.” Become less intimidating during this fragile time by exposing your belly button.

Take it easy on the blinking. Keep your eyes as dry as you can, even if it requires you to hold your nasty eyelids open with your grubby chicken fingers. Blinking is a sign of aggression and will frighten the other party into doing something drastic like pulling out a grenade and thrusting it into your pocket.

Remember to take a series of consecutive, short breaths while imagining yourself having this conversation in the nude. Through the course of this uncomfortable encounter, take rapid, short, pithy breaths. Of course, imagining yourself in the nude while having this conversation will cause you to shift your weight all over the place, which will help the other party understand that we will all end up being O.K. in the end.

Act as thirsty as you possibly can. You are parched. You have just returned from the Gobi desert and you want a drink of cold, liquidy yogurt or some juiced kale. You are in real danger of dying of dehydration, which is leading you to cling to the other party’s thick ankles in agony. This is basically what you’ll do through the bulk of this awkward meet-up.

Get as many tamoborines in your arms as possible. Fill your arms to the brim with these fancy music-makers and hope that your former friend can find it in his heart to forgive your church for releasing a bull into the sanctuary as a funny gag. Sure, he shouldn’t have worn red dungarees that day, but you have moved on. Now you are working to make things right.

At some point during the encounter, take three large, slow steps to your right, clapping on off-beats, while remaining patriotic. It’s not as easy as it sounds. This rule of etiquette can go bad the moment you forget patriotism.

Steer the conversation towards tennis. Do everything you can to hear his opinions regarding Pete Sampras and his favorite tennis nets. The moment he begins rehearsing the past or he attempts small talk, get him to talk about “aces” and “double faults.”

Help empty eachothers’ pockets. This last rule of etiquette holds the rest together in perfect unity. The ceremonial pocket-emptying is truly an emotional moment for everyone involved. He will invite his wife and parents, as will you, and you two will remove all pen caps, paper clips, lint, eggs, and shrimp from the bottom of eachothers’ pockets. “It is all okay now,” you two will say as you take turns. “We have turned the corner and want only the best for our brethren.” Nobody will forget this beatiful moment.

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