How to react to awkward encounters on campus

UC Berkeley is a rather large school with about 26,000 undergraduate students. It’s no wonder that you can’t remember the name of every person you’ve ever met here. But oddly enough, you remember their faces, right? So what do you do when you awkwardly run in to people around campus who you don’t know, but you kind of know? You might not remember whether they’re from your discussion section last semester or if they lived in your hall freshman year, but you certainly remember their face. And they’re walking towards you. You panic. You cannot make a quick enough decision of whether to say hello or to look away. You need a game plan for all such future encounters. Here are some suggestions from the Clog:


1. The not so subtle look-away is rather weak. You know the person saw you and they know that you know that they know. It’s just not nice but is sometimes necessary when you’re just not in the mood.

2. The un-returned smile shows that you’re a warm and semi-friendly person. It leaves room for a quick exchange if the other person chooses to say hello.

3. The blatant “hey, how are you?” that will leave you feeling vulnerable and rather stupid because it was met with just a “hey.” You may question why you said anything at all. The next time you see that person, you will possibly turn around and go in the opposite direction— every time … until graduation.

4. The awkward head nod is one of our personal favorites. You put yourself out there just enough so that your nod is not responded to, you can shrug it off and keep strolling as if nothing happened.

Image Sources: diivingdeep under Creative Commons

Contact Sareen Habeshian at [email protected].