I’m not the best at consistently acting like a Human, especially in social situations. One fault I recognize about myself is I avoid acquaintances. This is rude and makes me look like a dick. They might not want to talk to me but I’d surely scoff and let a mutual acquaintance know if they were outright dismissive to me.
Unfortunately, I know I’ve done it myself. Not out of malice or a superiority complex, but because I, personally, I didn’t know how to handle the interaction. I get a bit scared and flustered. I feel judged and nervous. I wonder how long do you talk for? What do you talk about? Is her name Mari, Mary, or Margie?
As it turns out, I don’t need to know any of that. I don’t even need to be witty or charming.
The thing with acquaintances is, they don’t expect you to stop and have lunch or spend your entire train ride talking to them. But they do expect you to acknowledge their existence with more than a suspicious, tight-lipped smile.
This is a basic level social paring that only requires basic level social interaction. These things are pretty much formulaic.
EXAMPLE OF A NORMAL, SUCCESSFUL INTERACTION BETWEEN ACQUAINTANCES:
See each other
You Smile Warmly. If wearing headphones, remove at least one.
You: Hey How are you?
Them: Gooood! And you?
You: I can’t complain. (because you can’t, that’s not what an acquaintance is for)
THIS is where things could get awkward. If you don’t want to get into a talky-talk, don’t leave gaping holes in conversation to be filled with open-ended questions like “How’s the job?” “Do you live around here?” “Have you seen anyone else from THAT PLACE WE KNOW EACHOTHER FROM?”
You: It’s great to see you. You look great (compliments are nice)! Have a nice weekend/week/trip/life (don’t say have a nice life.)
Them: Oh my God, you toooo!
Walk away. Even if you don’t need to be away, just clear yourself of the completed task. This includes, not only literally removing yourself from their presence, but also things like putting your headphones back on, or taking out a book to read. You’re done and you’ve moved on and so can they.
It’s that easy if you let it be. Now, all I need to do is take my own advice and remember to act like a human in the face of acquaintances.
Is this a problem only I have? Maybe my step 1 should have been about keeping your crazy to your self…