Just Ask Emily: I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello
In this week’s installment of Just Ask Emily, a reader tries to say farewell to awkward greetings.
I was eating with some friends in the dining hall when I made eye contact with an old acquaintance. To keep the conversation from getting too awkward, I acknowledged him and said, “Hey, we went to school together a long time ago” and he replied matter-of-factly, “We did.” Then he walked off and my friends and I couldn’t help but burst out laughing at the awkward situation. Did I say the wrong thing? Should I have acknowledged him at all? How should I handle run-ins with past acquaintances in the future?
Dear Awkwardly Confused,
So this happened. And it will happen again. It will happen with that guy in your University Writing class. It will happen with that girl from that semester that you went to a few random meetings with for that one random club. You will not be able to control when, nor with whom, nor what the other person does. But you can control what you do and say. And what you should say is this: Hi.
You should say hi because it is the normal, decent thing to do. You should say hi because it is more awkward to ignore the other person or to pretend that you received a text when everyone knows that you didn’t because we have all done the same (I include myself in this). You should say hi because the other person might be really excited to see you and generally great. You should say hi because the worst case scenario is that you have a good laugh when they don’t.
Just make sure that the person’s out of earshot when you do. You wouldn’t want your next encounter to be even more awkward.
Concur? Disagree? Tell ‘em (and Em) in the comments.
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