I Just Came to Say Hello

We’ve all done it. Accidentally (or not so much so) hooked up with a friend, acquaintance, friend of friend, teammate, floormate, that kid you-always-awkwardly-sit-with-four-seats-away-from-each-other-at-the-long-table-during-breakfast-at-Val-every-Tu/Th-at-9:30-am.

It doesn’t matter if it was a drunken move, an impulse move, or, most likely, a drunken impulse move. It still happened.

Maybe the heat of the socials got to your head, those new undies gave you a false feeling of invincibility (and let’s be honest, well-deserved, feeling of downright sexiness… especially when you call them undies…), or perhaps you had one too many drinks, but I’m betting something gave you the idea to stroll on up to your male or female counterpart and say something along the lines of “Hey [friend, acquaintance, friend of friend, teammate, floormate, kid who-always-sits-four-seats-away-from-me-at-the-long-table-during-breakfast-at-Val-every-Tu/Th-at-9:30-am].”

Insert fireworks here:

Those fireworks could be the result of chemistry, but more likely it is your brain cells dying, the visual premonition of the impending doom of your decision, and/or being hit in the head with a can of Keystone being chucked off the bar. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that someone’s getting some tonight.

While it is not fair for me to make generalizations, I’m going to do it anyways. Most likely, shit is gonna be awkward the next day. Really. Awkward. Particularly if you played the classic creep out of the room while your “partner” is still asleep and/or were the one pretending to be asleep, waiting and praying for the guy or gal you were “knowing” last night to depart.

But, being the queen of awkward myself, I am here to advocate the “fake it until you make it” routine.

Regardless of whether or not you had ever seen the other person before, they will now inevitably be everywhere. Val, gym (really, an affinity for athletes is not the way to go with one weight room), the library, Keefe. Hell, they might even be in your 100 person lecture at UMass. What’re the odds.

In the words of Chaucer, “Fortune spins her wheel and life is awesome. Until you get to the bottom. Then it sucks. And then she spits on you” (insert a couple thee’s and some weird middle english spelling and that’s practically verbatim). I’d say the person’s presence at your 100 person lecture at UMass would probably be the spitting. And it happens. Really. I swear.

Look at that poor man on the bottom. Seriously not where you want to be.

Talk about adding insult to injury.

Anyways, young adults everywhere know the classic moves when this person shows their hungover face— you turn and look out the window as if something caught your attention, you pull out your phone because you suddenly have a pressing text to send, you look at the ground as if those puke colored tiles at Val were suddenly the most interesting and beautiful tiles you ever saw, or, for the less subtle, you turn around and walk in the opposite direction. Smooth, dude.

Don’t lie, we’ve all done every last one of these at least once. And you’re not fooling anyone.

I beseech you, just say hello.

a little over the top, but you get the point

You don’t have to go out of your way, you don’t have to stop and chat or invite them to a picnic, but when you’re walking right at each other (or God forbid directly behind him/her), there’s no other choice; even an awkward “hi” beats these moves. Because let me repeat: you’re not fooling anyone. Even if you’re suave as hell, you both know it’s awkward. So by acknowledging him/her, you’re denying the Awkward-Silence Monster admittance.

You can't sit with us!

It is just so much easier to look the Awkward-Silence Monster in the face, and spit on him. Embrace the Awkward-Noise Monster instead…. definitely the hotter twin.

Eventually, maybe that hello will graduate into a “how’s it going”. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Getting the awkward hello’s out there immediately establishes the expectation that it will happen every time. We’re socialized to see someone we know. And say hello. By doing that, it really does get less awkward with time.

Otherwise, those things tend to fester. You clearly know your “mate”, even if the basis of that knowledge is biblical or because you simply had your tongue down his throat a couple weeks ago on the dance floor. And when you don’t say hi and you don’t try to establish a rapport, things only get worse.

Even if you pretend not to notice him, you are keenly aware of his existence, especially at the beginning. And ignoring him takes a conscious effort every time. Like it or not, you do know him. And the arousal you experience when you see someone you know and consciously don’t say hello to them is palpable. Your body starts to interpret those inevitable physiological signals of discomfort as dislike.

While you may not originally have felt any strong emotion positive or negative originally, doing the awkward “I-don’t-know-you” song and dance every time you see someone you’ve so much as made out with is going to make you start to resent them, even if it’s subtle.

Let’s be honest, there are many of us, myself included, who’d have to stop talking to a way too large a portion of the single male (or female) contingency on campus for that to be a feasible tactic.

This campus ain’t big enough for the both of us [to act like immature prats], amigo.

So. Moral of the Story? Fucking grin and bare it.

Hello started the dilemma and Hello can end it. You introduced awkward into the equation when you approached him/her with a casual “hey”, so it’s time to kick awkward out by continuing to greet him. Saying hello every time you’re close and clearly see one another makes life more pleasant for all involved.