Student Life Does Not Have to be Awkward: Just Have to Say Hello

After the reaction I got from my “Gossip Guy” article in the features section last week, the New University features staff, for some odd reason, awarded me a column in their section with the free rein to speak about whatever I want.
While that is a scary thought for some, I certainly embrace it as an opportunity to provide my own subjective prism (thank you Professor Barry Siegel for that term) on society, and hopefully more often, UC Irvine’s society.
Last week, I wrote about why guys need to open up to more “non-manly” things in life because they could end up being happier if they do so. The girls loved it, some guys agreed and others probably just think I am a pansy. I don’t care what you think after you read my columns, but I do hope that you come away from reading them with more knowledge and a new perspective.
Which brings me to my new thoughts:
How many of you have met someone, had a legitimate conversation with them and had them act like they don’t even know you the next time you encountered them on campus? Maybe I am just a loser, but I will contend otherwise because almost everyone I have talked to about this has agreed.
I’ll spare you thinking about the times it happened to you and will instead provide you with an instance pinning me as the loser-victim.
The first time I really noticed this behavior was after my first Humanities Core study group. I was invited to a study group of eight in Mesa Court. I knew only one other person in the study group, but that was okay. We were all freshmen and meeting new people was the thing to do.
There was one girl, who I will call “Ashley” for confidentiality purposes, who I really clicked with. When I say “click,” I mean she laughed and seemed to get all my sarcastic, lame jokes. However, aside from our shared humor, we really connected during our studying of Huckleberry Finn. I knew the book really well because I had also read it in high school. Ashley had neither read the book nor went to any of the lectures covering it. I was her shining star, at least for Huck Finn.
I copied my notes for her and answered all the study guide questions pertaining to the novel. I had the satisfaction of knowing that I really helped someone learn a subject, and that satisfaction was amplified, as Ashley could not stop thanking me.
I never saw Ashley again for the rest of the quarter, but during week one of the following quarter, I spotted her at Starbucks on campus. She was ahead of me in line by two people, and she was with another guy. I presumed that the guy was her boyfriend, judging from their body language.
Immediately I thought, “I should ask her how she did on her midterm.” But then it hit me that I shouldn’t because I had gotten an A, and what if she had not? That would have been awkward. I saw her look over a couple times, but she never made eye contact. I figured she didn’t see me. So I decided to wait until after I ordered my chai tea and just say “hi” to her at the area where everyone stands anxiously waiting for the caffeine kick to be announced by a barista.
I placed my order, walked over, and nothing. I did not want to interrupt her conversation with her friend, but made it very clear that I was opening up for an acknowledgement as I gave her the “we definitely studied together for five hours” look.
Each time I gave her that look, she would turn away and act like she didn’t notice me.
If she didn’t notice, fine. But she clearly noticed, and I am sure you have been through an experience like this before. Whether it was at a Starbucks, or just passing by someone on Ring Road, I think everyone has had the same experience.
Oftentimes, this happens after you meet someone at a party, and that gets a little fishy because at least with me, I find myself thinking that they were probably drunk and don’t remember me. But that is not true. People use their drunkenness as an excuse for everything, and it is oddly accepted. Hooking up with an unacceptable person is “OK” because you were drunk. Peeing in a mailbox was “OK” because you were drunk. I don’t care. You were still yourself! You still did it! But I’ll leave that subject for another column — or book.
What I am trying to say is that this awkwardness doesn’t need to happen. If you have met someone before, acknowledge them the next time. You may not only be missing out on a friendship, but you also look like a stuck-up idiot.
I rest my case.