Seeing Acquaintances in Public and Other Nightmares.
Are you a shy person? An introvert? Or maybe you’re the most outgoing of all your friends? It really doesn’t matter, because at the end of the day, we’re all awkward.
An enlightening article from Wait But Why really touched me personally while I was reading it earlier this week, and it just sort of helped me to remember how funny, odd, and uncomfortable being human can be sometimes.
Imagine if an alien came to Earth. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be so far-fetched, because if you’ve ever traveled to a country with a culture different than your own, you know how utterly confusing and depressingly hard it can be to try and figure out the social rules and norms.
Now forget other cultures: how about your own? How many situations do you encounter each day that just leave you wondering how and why things are done the way they’re done?
From simple greetings, to passing people on the sidewalk, to—dare I mention it—trying to pee with other people around, these are some of the most awkward situations we can all relate to.
Painfully Long Hellos
Sometimes, the awkward kicks in even before you’ve started talking to somebody. Just seeing someone you know from a distance can turn into a strange affair for a multitude of reasons.
How often have you walked into a party or bar and seen someone you know and made eye contact, but you can’t get over to where they are right away? You can either pretend not to have seen them at all, or you can keep acknowledging them while making your way through other hellos and quick greetings first. Either that, or you can wave to them from afar, then virtually ignore them for who knows how long until you finally see them up close.
Handshake vs. Hug
Let’s start with greetings, as we usually do in social situations.
Be it family, friends, coworkers, or strangers, in the first few seconds of seeing somebody, most of us are thrust into the game time decision of figuring out just how to great them. Is it a formal handshake? A bro-y hand clasp with shoulder bump? A one-armed hug? Two? Kissing??
This situation gets even more complicated when the opposite sex is involved. How often have you ended up in some hybrid embrace of discomfort? *shudders*