When greeting humans, don’t be surprised if they enquire after your well-being. This is common practice on Earth, but don’t worry, there’s no need to recite your full medical history, and they certainly won’t be expecting you to show them your scars; a fact that I discovered to my cost over dinner one evening. All humans are really looking for is a polite standard reply, such as, I’m fine, I’m very well, or even, somewhat ungrammatically, I’m good. My advice is to pick one and stick with it, repeating it when asked regardless of the circumstances, e.g. you may have just been hit by a fire truck, but if you point out this detail, you will be viewed as, at best, pernickety, and at worst, a troublemaker.

Similarly, when taking your leave from humans, say something generic that implies you’d like to stay in touch, for example, I’ll call you, I’ll write, or Let’s do lunch one day next week. Avoid giving specifics, and whatever you do, don’t say something along the lines of, I’ll see you at 4 a.m. on Tuesday when I shall be abducting you for the purposes of experimentation so you may want to wear clean pajamas. Such remarks may be truthful, and they are no doubt borne of a natural tendency to be helpful, but they can ruin what may, up until that point, have been a pleasant evening at the cinema.

An important note on disclosing details of your personal finances. Don’t. If your human acquaintances talk about money, it means that they don’t have enough, so even though you may feel like joining in, harping on about your shopping spree on Drammadon Four or mentioning your portfolio of investments gathering daily compound interest during the fantastically long financial year on Pluto will only upset everyone.

Family is important to humans, so if they show you photos of their offspring, don’t laugh. Simply smile, try not to bare your teeth too much, and say that the child is “lovely”. One word. That’s it. Do not feel tempted to embellish the fiction, and whatever you do, don’t use the word delicious. The myth that we eat humans is hard to dispel, but in the interests of harmonious interplanetary relations, you must do your best to avoid reinforcing this unfounded fear. If you meet a human child in person, do not try to engage them in conversation unless absolutely necessary; their own parents don’t seem to understand them, so you don’t stand a chance. But if you raise an eyebrow and stare at human children for a while, they’ll go away and leave you alone. I don’t know why this works, but trust me on this. One hard stare will save you from having to answer hundreds of impertinent questions, so you may wish to practice in front of the mirror before setting foot on Earth.

Similarly, humans are proud of their pets, but their domesticated animals may react badly to your presence. The hard stare technique has very little effect on pet animals, so if you want to get out of a potentially embarrassing situation, simply sneeze, claim an allergy, and leave the room at the first opportunity.

And now we move on to that strange human habit, shaking hands.

This is a tricky area to navigate since a weak handshake may give a bad impression, suggesting that you are untrustworthy. But since our muscles are so much stronger than a human’s and our bones are so much denser, too firm a grip can have disastrous results. Breaking the fingers of an acquaintance can lead to all kinds of social awkwardness, so unless you’re confident of the correct pressure to apply, keep your hands behind your back and bow your head in acknowledgement.

In the unlikely event that a human wraps his or her arms around you, try not to scream in horror. This is something called a hug, and although it is deeply unpleasant, the intention is not to offend. My advice is to watch for the warning signs, and if you feel that a hug is imminent, grimace as though in pain and ask where the nearest bathroom is. Humans are obsessed with the disposal of their own bodily waste, but they never, ever talk about it, so even though they will want to know about your visit to the bathroom, their social conventions prevent them from asking. This causes a nice break in the conversation and effectively prevents anyone present from trying to embrace you in a ghastly hug. Indeed, they may even avoid you altogether, especially if you rub your stomach from time to time, look uncomfortable, and mutter something about the shrimp.

Right, I’ve given you a lot to think about, so I’ll sign off for today. But the next time you meet a human and they shake hands then show you their children and their dog before asking about your salary and then going in for a hug, you’ll be able to sail through this perfect storm with ease.

Peace, fellow Gloabons, and don’t forget to practice that stare.



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