I cringe just thinking about it. Its that rando who spilled his beer on you at a house party then talked to you drunkenly for 10 minutes about his take on the upcoming NHL season. The quiet girl who was in your group for a psychology project two years ago. The barista at the coffee shop in the student union who doesn’t even wait for you to say you want a small cold press with a shot of coconut anymore before he punches in your order. The Spanish TA you worked with once a week freshman year. Your dad’s college friend’s  son who you added on Facebook so your dad could keep up on his baseball season. LITERALLY WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?! What qualifies as a close enough relationship where you are required to acknowledge these people in public outside of the usual context of your meeting? There should be some sort of guidebook for this stuff.

According to recent and extremely accurate, statistical studies, this is a rising epidemic. Now that I’m a senior in college it happens to me multiple times a day and I still haven’t found a consistent way to deal with it. I either feel like a fool for thinking we could ever be friends outside of our normal routine or interaction like we are star-crossed lovers and our life is an indie movie. OR I feel like an asshole for pointedly ignoring a person who is really nice and fine but apparently I don’t have the time of day for them if they aren’t typing up our group paper or pouring me a coffee for minimum wage.

The worst is when so much time has passed since you ‘knew’ them or they look completely different when not in their natural habitat that you inadvertently ignore them. Just yesterday I realized that the girl who sits next to me in my seminar labor economics class and asks me questions about my life all the time like, “how’s volleyball going?” or “how are you today?” and makes little jokes to me during class like we had previously shared the same sense of humor – I DO IN FACT KNOW HER. We went on a school trip together last spring break and she was in my small group. And since I didn’t really know anyone on the trip she was probably my best friend for those four days. And now I don’t know how to interact with her when I have to sit next to her in class tomorrow, all the while recounting how weird I have been to her and basically how I forgot she existed ever in the story of my life. So I guess I will just nervously laugh too hard at her jokes, now that I know why she is saying them to me, in an attempt to stop myself from saying…

This is awkward.


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