Awkward Exchange on Aisle 7

  1. Denisero says:

    I see where you are going with the steps, but that is just too much work. I like to just hide until the coast is clear. bahahahaha

    • Anonymous says:

      Even after you’ve made eye contact? Because I’m thinking that might actually be even worse than the 5-step process! LOL

  2. Trilby says:

    Wow, that sounds like a lot of work! I usually just smile and nod in their direction and hope they don’t want to start a conversation! 🙂

    • Anonymous says:

      Smile. Nod. Check. 🙂 WHY do I feel obligated to have a conversation??! Maybe that’s why the other person always looks so uncomfortable!

  3. Lisa D Acord says:

    Yeah, I’m with Trilby. Smile, nod, maybe a “Hey!”, and keep going.

  4. Paula Quick says:

    If eye contact is made, smile and perhaps even wave. If they look like they are coming in for a “talk” pretend like your cell phone just vibrated and you can’t ignore it. 😉

    • Anonymous says:

      BRILLIANT. I have tried pretending like I’m extremely near-sighted, but that hasn’t worked so well.

  5. Miss B says:

    Your approach is an accident waiting to happen – please stop at once! It could be that you don’t actually know the vaguely-familiar target. I cannot recognize people unless I really know them well – even famous people. I once chatted it up with famed basketball coach Bobby Knight for 15 minutes, asking about his family, work, etc. He seemed friendly enough and even asked about my family too. I knew he looked familiar, but I thought he was an old friend of the family or something. Only years later when I saw him on tv did I recognize my error. So embarrassing!

  6. Who Who Who are U? says:

    You ARE a celebrity. Many times (obviously not the 2nd grade teacher) the person is probably just looking at you and you completely don’t know them or they just slightly resemble someone you have known (or at least have met). If they rope you into talking and it is clear you don’t recognize them, just say “I’m sorry, I can’t place you, but that’s a good sign — I never forget b1tches and a-holes [or just “people I have negative memories about].”

    • Anonymous says:

      Well thanks, but ‘celebrity’ is a strong word! How about ‘Known to dozens?’ LOL There are definitely people who I don’t know at all who are friendly (this is the south, after all), but then there are people I KNOW I know, I just don’t know how I KNOW them. You know what I mean? 😉 We have gone so many places and done so many things in the ten years that I’ve been here, I can’t keep track. I know I worry about it too much, because my husband goes through the very same ‘How do I know you?’ thing and doesn’t think twice about it.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I can relate. The nature of my job, volunteer activities, church and community involvement means that more people know who I am than I know. I can’t step out of my house without running into people who know me. At the local grocery store, I usually run into 2 or 3 acquaintances while shopping. My technique: smile, nod, and reach for the nearest item on the shelf and peruse the ingredients list. I just pray the item isn’t a pack of condoms, a pregnancy test kit, anti-fungal vaginal cream, or a six-pack of beer.

    • Anonymous says:

      I read recently about this disorder that prevents people from recognizing faces- Some people can’t recognize ANYONE, even their own children, by face, but the article said that other people have it in varying degrees. I swear I think I might have a mild form of it, because I can meet someone and COMPLETELY have forgotten what they looked like within a few days. I try to memorize a facial feature or something distinctive, but I don’t always remember to do that. Uggggghhhhh.

  8. Margaret says:

    My biggest problem? SUNGLASSES. I can NOT recognize people if they are wearing shades. I have had conversations with people I couldn’t place at all, until they removed their sunglasses and I realize that I actually know them, and fairly well–then I look like a real ass with my fakey-fake small talk.

    My solution to the acquaintance thing is pretty straightforward. Move. A lot. heh heh

    • Anonymous says:

      I HATE talking to people in sunglasses, because I’m wondering where they’re looking the whole time!

      In dealing with acquaintances, I have also tried pretending like I’m nearsighted, pretending that I have water in my ears, and pretending like I don’t speak English anymore. I don’t recommend any of these techniques, for the record.

  9. brooke says:

    This made me laugh because my husband used to run into people and he wouldn’t introduce me. I used to get mad and I finally asked him why he wouldn’t introduce me. it turns out he couldn’t remember most of them and was just embarrassed. lol

    • Anonymous says:

      Ha! We went through the same thing when we married, and had to come up with a code- If he introduces me and not them, then that means he doesn’t remember their name and I hold out my hand, say ‘hi’ and “What’s your name?” But yeah, there were a few arguments about that there in the beginning!

  10. Cathy Meyer says:

    I go with the real basic, I ask them somehow. It gets the job done, AND informs you without being impolite, so it won’t fester in the back of your mind for days (which, before I just started admitting I’d forgotten them, eats at me). It literally drives me slightly insane for a day or so, ’til I forget them again. Do that smile back thing for sure, then brazenly walk right up (quickly ~ you don’t want to drag this out) and say something like…

    “Hey, awesome…I was JUST thinking about you the other day, and could NOT, for the life of me, put my finger on your name OR how exactly I know you. So…fill me in, here… I’ll file you in the correct folder for ‘excellent people’ in my virtual thumb drive!” (Tap your temple with your forefinger as you do this, so they “get it”). Dummy up the variations based on who this is (male, female, young, blue-haired, etc.) and/or insert your own personality into the conversation accordingly.

    Have a nice mutual chuckle with said acquaintance, make sure you add the “Great Seeing You!”, then, when safely out of the meeting area, actually type it out in something like a smart phone notes app, because you CANNOT use this approach twice!

    Contrary to what you might think, MOST folks (unless they’re cold and inhuman, in which case they’d never have caught your eye and smiled in
    the first place) understand that “Tip of the Tongue” syndrome. Humans going through life interacting with others of our species, know JUST how maddening that can be.

    I <3 the new website BTW…looking good. Now I bet THAT was a HUGE labor of love!

    Happy America's Birthday, Lindsay! As always, I want to thank you for being such a GR8 distraction from other things I SHOULD be doing (other than reading what YOU'RE doing…).


    ~ Cathy in Shrewsbury, MA

  11. Kelly @ JourneysAndDetours says:

    Oh, I’m afraid I can’t offer any great advice here as “socially awkward” is my middle name. Like you- fine on stage or with a small group of friends. Otherwise, I’m hopeless. Anyway, just wanted to say:
    1. You are not alone (but you knew that 🙂
    2. I love love LOVE the new site. It’s perfect. I was afraid I’d get lost like I do on so many sites (can you say BlogHer?) but this is easy and looks great and OMG are you an accomplished woman (per “MEET”)So seriously envious of your life. But not in a stalker way– just in a we-could-totally-be-buds-if-I-lived-in Nashville way 🙂

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you so much, Kelly! So glad the site is working for you. I tried to imagine what I’d want to see in a site as a reader and this was what we came up with. 🙂 And if you’re ever in Nashville, let’s get coffee!

  12. My girlfriend forwarded me this post as I just tweeted about being in my hometown and running into the craziest FREAK from high school at the local grocery store. I saw her from behind early on and made sure to never let her see “my” face. I managed to get through the entire store, only to have her notice me as she’s getting into the check-out aisle.

    So I did what any self-respecting person who has absolutely no time for this would do … when she walked past and did the double-take, I put my head down and power pushed my cart to the other side of the store. And when she started yelling my name, “JILL … JILL”, I pretended like I didn’t hear her – or that it wasn’t me.

    And then I hid in the back of the grocery store for about 7 minutes, until she finally got through the line and left the store.

    So … clearly, I’m not the one to ask for advice. I just TOTALLY relate!

  13. Punxxi says:

    well you coud wear a full face burqua when you go out in public…

  14. Cloverleaf1978 says:

    You know what I suck at… the hugs. I can’t do the hug right even with my friends. Why do we have to hug? And don’t even get me started on that kiss on the cheek thing. OH MY GOD. SERIOUSLY. I start to get really anxious just thinking about that.

    • Anonymous says:

      I suck at friendly hugs with men. There cannot be anyone in this world worse at friendly hugs with men than me. AWKWARD.

  15. Jennifer says:

    You reminded me of Hyperbole and A Half, where she talks about the awkward grocery store exchange, where you see each other on each aisle.

    My “problem” is that my now-three-year-old daughter has been wearing glasses since she was 18 months. A child that young with (pink, plastic) glasses is immediately recognizable. Several times recently I’ve talked with moms that know her from the child care of the rather large Bible study I go to. But I do not necessarily recognize them or their cute kids. Luckily, they do not expect me to know their names. But they all know hers, which is kind of freaky to me.

  16. ColleenerBeaner says:

    I’m a pretty outgoing, friendly person. Normally I’m the one doing most of the talking but when it comes to running into someone at the store or anywhere I tend to want to just turn around. Unless it’s a best friend or family member (well, most family members) I usually head in the opposite direction. Eye contact is what gets me. I hate it. Even in conversation with someone close. If I’m making eye contact with someone for more than a few seconds I feel like they’re staring deep into my soul and judging. Maybe I’m the weirdo after all…

    • Anonymous says:

      I have a similar problem. I think I just worry too much in general about what other people are thinking of me, and when I’m talking to an acquaintance, that goes into overdrive. Weirdos, unite!

  17. […] discussion last week about the awkwardness of making conversation with acquaintances led in the comments to a related topic that is, if possible, even more awkward. It’s so […]

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