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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Do I Know You, Or Is Your Coat Just Super Generic?

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It’s late at night. You’re walking from the library to your dorm with your boulder of a backpack weighing you down. Any energy you have leftover from the day is devoted to staying warm. You’re totally out of it.

But then, out of a nowhere, you spot a figure in the distance. For some inexplicable reason, you think you know the person, but it’s hard to tell when everyone looks more or less the same in their winter coats. Also, since this is a crazy small college, it’s reasonable to assume you know most people walking in front of you.

How, in your current state of near unconsciousness, do you figure out if this is someone you actually know who is worth greeting? I don’t mean to be unkind here, but sometimes, you’re not in the mood to make small talk with a rando.

Well, here is a helpful list of tips you can use if you’re caught in this somewhat awkward situation.

• Look for key features. Does that person oftentimes wear a particular hat, have a certain backpack, or walk particularly fast or slow? While you may barely notice these small characteristics in daily life, these traits can help determine a person’s identity when there is nothing else to guide you.

• Walk a little faster. The reason for this is pretty obvious. The closer you are physically to the person at hand, the more likely you will be able to decipher their identity. Yes, I know you’re exhausted, but picking up the pace just a tiny bit could help solve the curiosity that is killing you.

• If you have a little more energy than none, do my favorite tip: do something to identify yourself. Some suggestions: laugh really loudly (we each have a distinct laugh, even if we deny it). Pretend to talk to someone on your phone. Comment to yourself about the igloo in front of Leighton. Do basically anything verbal. This will help turn the tables and maybe this unknown person will call you out.

• To avoid any possible confrontation, use any leftover bit of energy to sprint by the person without giving a second look. Okay, no, I don’t really recommend this tip. But if being awkward is your thing (no judgment), totally go for it.

• If you truly want to put yourself out there, and you believe this person at hand is a close friend, implement one of your inside jokes. Walk next to the person and dance like a complete idiot. If the person turns out not to be your close friend, well, just hope the person has some sense of humor.

• If all else fails, just remember a key scene from an episode of Seinfeld. George is in the café just going on with his business, and a woman taps him on the shoulder, mistaking him for her boyfriend. They then almost end up in a relationship. So you never know, that accidental calling-out of a stranger could be the start of something great.

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