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Old 11-01-2018, 07:01 PM
 
1,280 posts, read 433,797 times
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I work in a large downtown area, with slews of people nearby, and it's pretty common to run into people you know when you're going to or from work or running errands. So often the encounter is awkward: both the other person and I are in a rush, or have only met once or twice, or maybe just know each other by sight but not by name, such as from church or from the gym.

Today I was walking to lunch and saw a neighbor who I've just met once, and the conversation was totally awkward, ending with an attempted handshake (by him) that took a few tries.

I think it's better to just not see the person, or pretend not to see the person, and have a real conversation when you're in the mood and have time. That makes a better impression than an awkward encounter on the sidewalk.

So:

When you see an acquaintance when you're out running errands or something, if the person doesn't instantly see you, would you rather:

1. Wave to the person and have a quick conversation, or

2. Just hope that the person doesn't see you so that you can avoid an awkward encounter?

Thanks.
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Old 11-01-2018, 07:06 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
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I rarely seek out acquaintances in public, but if I do have an awkward encounter I know it's not the end of the world.
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Old 11-01-2018, 07:15 PM
 
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Prefer a quick hello or I give a quick hi, no need for it to be awkward. Just let the person know it’s nice to see them but you have to get to work or catch up on something.
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Old 11-01-2018, 07:30 PM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
7,624 posts, read 4,686,468 times
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Wave and a "Hi, how ya doing?" seems to work for me.

For years I thought I was invisible, moving through the world unseen and unremarked-upon. Only recently have I found out that some people remember me, sometimes for years after our last contact. I'm seldom in a rush now, though, and can take a few moments to stop and chat.

I've probably missed out on a lot of connections I would have liked to have.
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Old 11-01-2018, 07:51 PM
 
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The more you interact with people you encounter in different situations and places, the better you will get at interacting gracefully in various situations and the less awkward all types of encounters will become. Think of it as an exercise in building social skills that might come in handy sometime when it counts.


Develop a few pat phrases you can use in these situations ("Good to see you! What brings you downtown?" that kind of thing) so you don't have to stammer or wrack your brain for something to say. Have a graceful, friendly exit line so can get on your way with little loss of time if you're in a hurry. It might seem like a waste of time and effort to be prepared for this sort of encounter, but if you do it right, you will develop a reputation for having good manners and people will be happy to see you wherever they encounter you. You never know when you're going to need an ally, and you never know who might turn out to be the ally you need.


No one ever regrets being kind. Ignoring an acquaintance is not kind.
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Old 11-01-2018, 07:51 PM
 
Location: British Columbia ♥ 🍁 ♥
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When I'm busy running errands, shopping, going to appointments, whatever, I don't have time for small talk with anyone I chance to meet but I don't feel uncomfortable about acknowledging them if they see me.

If I see somebody I know and they aren't looking directly at me making eye contact I will simply turn my head away and don't do anything to bring myself to their attention. I just continue on with what I'm doing. I'm usually in a big hurry anyway and that's very obvious to anyone who sees me.

If by chance that other person does make eye contact with me I will give them a friendly smile and nod and even say "Hi" in passing if they are close enough to hear me, but I still keep moving forward and carrying on with what I'm doing and don't stop to talk. If somebody actually tries to stop me as I pass by I smile and politely tell them "Sorry, I'm in a really big hurry and can't stop" and I keep moving.

As far as I know, nobody has ever taken offense by me not stopping to chat. I think it's good enough that I smile and acknowledge them. I think if somebody was to take offense because I didn't stop to chat with them when I'm obviously busy and on the go, then I would think that person has control issues with other people and I wouldn't want to associate with somebody like that anyway. So I wouldn't care if they were offended because I didn't stop to chat.


.
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Old 11-01-2018, 08:07 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
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It totally depends. If it's a neighbor and there is nothing weird between us, I'll smile and wave and just keep moving, if I'm in a hurry.

Now, on the other hand, if I'm at the library and I see a guy who keeps hitting on me whenever I see him, I'll pretend I didn't see him and avoid him at all costs. Even if I know he saw that I saw him - I'll pretend I didn't see him and if I ever had to, I'd swear that I never saw him, that my mind was far away....

I'm a senior now, and I learned a trick from watching other seniors who want to get away from someone who is talking their ear off - you just interrupt them and say, "I'm so sorry to interrupt you, but I really have to go to the bathroom! I'll talk to you soon, take care, bye!"

If you tell someone you really have to go to the bathroom - they'll let you leave without any animosity :-)
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Old 11-01-2018, 08:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PuppiesandKittens View Post
Today I was walking to lunch and saw a neighbor who I've just met once, and the conversation was totally awkward, ending with an attempted handshake (by him) that took a few tries.
I'm just curious why a handshake was so difficult.
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Old 11-01-2018, 09:10 PM
 
Location: Honolulu
1,068 posts, read 1,468,798 times
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There's no real answer for every situation. If it's an acquaintance I wouldn't mind saying hello to I'll do a quick hello and quick conversation, hopefully. Sure it could turn awkward but my whole life has been awkward so I'm not really that afraid of awkward situations anymore. If it's someone I don't really want to converse with I'll ignore them and hope they don't see me.
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Old 11-01-2018, 10:18 PM
 
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A nod and/or a quick "Hey how you doing" and keep it moving.
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