The other day I was at the doctor’s office with my wife, and I saw a woman from my past in the waiting room. She and I met as friends about ten or eleven years ago.
So here we are sitting in the same waiting room. We kind of looked at each other, but gave each other the ‘don’t really remember you’ type of look.
You know that look. It’s the one you give when you know someone but you really don’t want to talk to them. You’re really not friends with them anymore, you haven’t seen them in so long and you were only acquaintances when you did know them.
In this situation when confronted with this person, the two people usually do one of a few things. You can look away after you make eye contact, as if to say “Oops, our eyes didn’t meet so it’s okay not to say hello.”
I love that feeling when all of a sudden you look directly at somebody that you know, but you don’t want to talk to them so both of you look at each other then look off into the distance. It’s almost like you’re looking for a boat on the horizon. You’re looking for that ship that’s coming in, or you look down on the ground (or on a shelf if you’re in a market) and you reach for something you don’t even want just to carry out the rest of the charade. You don’t care what you grab as long as you don’t have to talk to this person to whom you don’t want to talk.
It’s funny how we do that. We just want to stay alert. We’ll just look directly at them — not five feet away from them — and we won’t say a single word.
Let me tell all of you something. This is not a good thing to do.
Here’s the way I look at life. Life is a series of networks. Life is a series of contacts. You never know who that person may become at this point in your life, to whom they might be able to introduce you, or what kind of advice they might give you that you need.
I truly believe that when you’re in a place and you run into somebody like this, that there is a reason why you’re running into them. So instead of looking away or looking at them without saying something, re-engage them.
Say something like, “Hey, I haven’t seen you in years! What’s going on with you?” It’s a lot healthier and a lot smarter (especially if you’re single). You never know to whom this person might introduce you.
Even if you’re not single, you don’t know business-wise to whom this person might introduce you or whether this person may be someone you need (business-wise or personally) in your life right now.
So never do the ‘look away’ and never do the ‘look at each other like you don’t know each other’ things. They are counter productive and I was guilty of it today. Learn from my experience. I’ll see you guys tomorrow.