According to novelist Mitch Albom, everyone who goes to heaven gets to meet five people who had a significant impact on their life.
If you extrapolate from this idea, everyone who goes to hell gets to meet telemarketers, Canada Revenue agents and the people in front of you in line at Tim Hortons right now.
Since the world failed to end last week, you probably won't experience the afterlife any time soon. But you likely will be going out for New Year's Eve in a couple of days, if you have the time or money.
To prepare yourself for this eventuality, here are The Six People You Will Meet On New Year's, whether you want to or not:
1. The Epic Wastoid
EVERY night of the year, there are people who would choose to get intoxicated over any other activity if they could get away with it. Only on New Year's Eve is this a socially acceptable practice.
As a result, you will encounter a disproportionate number of humans on New Year's Eve who have had way too much, way too early and make way too little sense. Many of them are also horribly out of practice at this sort of thing. As a result, on New Year's Eve they will behave like morons.
All you need to do when you meet The Epic Wastoid is be patient and kind. And maybe don't buy them another drink. They'll be annoyed in the short term but they will be grateful on New Year's Day, when they go back to being an ordinary person with addictive tendencies.
2. "I Love You" Man
AT first glance, I Love You Man would appear to be same person as The Epic Wastoid. He will stand far too close to you, put his arm around your shoulder and tell you how awesome you are and how much you mean to him, using the most emphatic words imaginable.
But I Love You Man may be completely sober. He may only be intoxicated by the emotions that inexplicably overcome otherwise-disaffected North Americans when confronted with a major, life-affirming milestone, such as the 100th episode of How I Met Your Mother, the birth of a child or the night the calendar flips over from one year to another.
Do not spurn the good-natured affections of I Love You Man. Rejection would cause him great psychological harm.
Just look him in the eyes, give his palm a hearty squeeze and tell him you love him, too.
3. Ms. Make This The Best New Year's Ever!
THE day after Halloween, you found a text message in your inbox.
"What are we doing for New Year's Eve?" it asked, already assuming you're already taking part in her date with destiny.
Ms. Make This The Best really loves New Year's Eve. She loves it even more than South Carolinans love their NASCAR. She owns her own champagne flutes, party hats and noisemakers. She also keeps extras on hand in the event some people may not appreciate the spirit of the most important night of the year, if not the entire history of the human race.
A careful and meticulous planner, Ms. Make This The Best has left nothing up to chance on New Year's Eve. She has a pre-game plan. She has a dinner plan. She has a party plan, an after-party plan and above all, a plan for making the stroke of midnight more magical than a sorting-hat ceremony at Hogwarts.
Oddly, she has no freaking plan whatsoever for getting you all home at 3 a.m. But don't be a buzzkill. This is her night.
4. The Ever-Hopeful Hookup
CONTRARY to popular belief, there are single people who go out on Dec. 31 without intending to hook up with an acquaintance or stranger. But you can identify those who are looking by the unmistakable manner in which they methodically scan a room for anyone who might conceivably share the same goal. Only ex-KGB and Mossad agents can assess potential targets more effectively.
Whether male or female, The Hopeful Hookup will be dressed far too well for whatever venue they happen to inhabit. She may wear a ballgown to a house party. He may wear an ill-fitting jacket. Both will be sporting coifs with too much product.
The best way to signal your unavailability or disinterest is to dress like Evander Kane on a Vegas hotel balcony: nothing promotes celibacy quite like a hoodie and a pair of sweats.
5. The New Year's-Hating Hipster
THE polar opposite of Ms. Make This The Best, the New Year's-Hating Hipster is way too cool to celebrate something as obvious as the end of the year. The Hating Hipster is only out at the behest of a friend or because her or she has nothing better to do.
Hipsters know all the words to Auld Lang Syne but will not help you sing it. They will complain about the brand of beer on tap ("do you have anything from Belgium besides Hoegaarden?"), the munchies on their plate ("sushi, how original") and the music ("Great, haven't heard that Peter Bjorn & John track in such a long time").
Secretly, the Hipsters are actually having the time of their lives. Go on over and say something encouraging about the future of independently owned coffee shops.
6. The Wannabe Home Right After Midnight
WHILE all five other New Year's Eve characters can be annoying, only The Wannabe Home will ruin your evening. This person does not want to be out on New Year's Eve at all and will drag you home the millisecond after midnight, if not well before. They will also transmit deadly sulk rays all evening.
Do not approach this person at all. There is no safe distance. While it's fairly easy to clean up puke, tolerate a lingering hug, feign interest in a countdown, deflect a proposition or ignore a pretentious comment, there is no way to recover from having your soul stolen away from you, even for a few hours.
Two words of advice: Run away.