Have you ever ran into someone when you’re out somewhere, and awkwardly tried to make conversation?
You know the kind of bumbling encounter where you clam up once you get past the “Hey, how are ya?” part. They’re also the ones that you get yourself into because you feel guilty about doing another “oblivious stare in the distance” to avoid someone for the third time in one week.
Most of all they’re…
And sometimes painful.
I always seem to experience these run-in’s when I have no make-up on, too. It never fails. In fact, I very rarely go out of the house without a stitch of make-up on, but every time I do, I run into someone.
Running into a someone you know might be inconvenient, especially when you don’t feel like talking, but it doesn’t have to be awkward.
I bring you…
Tactics to Use for Your Next Awkward Encounter
The Oblivious Stare Into the Distance
The “oblivious stare into the distance” is when you spot someone that you know, and act like you don’t see them. This might mean you’re acting as if you’re intently reading a magazine in line at the grocery store, admiring the dandelions in the grass, acting as if you are rummaging for your phone in your purse, or basically focusing your attention on anything other than the person you are trying to avoid. The funny thing about the “oblivious stare into the distance” is that the person you are trying to dodge always knows what you’re up to, which just makes it even more awkward than sucking it up and just saying hello. That is why I am not really a fan of this tactic.
I have yet to master the “oblivious stare into the distance,” but I’ve gotten the treatment myself from the same girl at least five times. I’m not even exaggerating. I’m not really sure why I was running into her so much in the first place, but who knows, maybe it was karma giving her multiple chances to say hello to me. The point is, she avoided me in a slew of different ways on five separate occasions, but by about the third time I took the hint, and didn’t even try to make eye contact to say hello to her.
Which made me think, doesn’t it take more energy to avoid someone?
The Wrap It Up
The “wrap it up” is when you’re in the midst of making awkward conversation, and you make the decision to end it. This might mean you assertively interrupt the awkward silence with an “Okay, well great seeing you,” or a “See you later.” The point is, you take the reins and put a period on the conversation.
Most people avoid running into someone, because they lack the skills to “wrap it up.” I think that’s understandable. Maybe you have a hard time gauging when it’s time to end the conversation, and you get anxiety from not knowing when or how to do just that. Let me say, once you master the “wrap it up” you will never avoid running into someone ever again. Part of the reason an awkward run-in is so bad, is because one or both of the people involved don’t know how to “wrap it up.” Then, the conversation drones on and on, there is uncomfortable silence, you realize you have nothing else to say to each other, so you continue to just stand there with the clock ticking away, and usually when it’s finally over you think to yourself, “The next time I will just do the oblivious stare in the distance and avoid this all together!”
But don’t! Just learn how to “wrap it up.”
The Walk Away
So, I know what you’re all thinking…
What about when you avoid someone because you know you’re going to get stuck talking to them forever? These are the kinds of people who the “oblivious stare into the distance” doesn’t even faze. They’ll boldly walk right up to you, and demand your attention. You know if you get stuck talking to them, then they’re never going to shut up. They’re the type of people who know when they should probably stop talking, but they don’t care, because they’ve captured you and now you are going to listen to everything they have to say.
Ugh, that’s the worst.
That is why you have to master the “walk away.” Not to toot my own horn, but I am kind of the master of the “walk away.”
Basically the “walk away” is when you interrupt the conversation with a sudden but casual departure. You can casually start taking steps backward while the other person is still talking, and say something like, “Wow, that’s so crazy! Hey, good seeing you,” then you inconspicuously walk away. Yes, it’s a little rude, but the other person will probably not find you insulting, and likely mistake you for being the awkward one instead of themselves. The point is, you successfully got away from them, so everybody wins.
On a side note, you can also use the “wrap it up” in conjunction with the “walk away,” too.
My additional two cents…
Personally I think it’s easier to just suck it up and say hello to someone, instead of avoiding them all together. The key is to keep it short and sweet.
Person 1: “Hey how are you?”
Person 2: “Good. How are you?”
Person 1: Doing well. How is (insert any personal question here)?
Person 2: Very well, thank you for asking. Tell me, how is (insert personal question here)?
Person 1: Everything is going well with (insert personal answer here). Well, great seeing you. (Notice that person 1 is the initiator of the conversation and the “wrapper upper.)
Person 2: See you later!
That wasn’t too hard, was it?
Now that you have the tools, you’ll probably never avoid someone ever again, right?
Well, we’ll see…
Photo by IMDB…