Keep Calm and Carry On: Avoiding Awkward Hellos

Whether or not you’ve finalized your class schedule, your routine has certainly changed from last semester. Accordingly, tons of new faces are present in classrooms, Brown dining establishments, and study spaces. First time around, your walk from Barus & Holley to your class on the Main Green was invigorating. Overjoyed to be back on campus, you greeted everyone along the way: the person you pregamed with that one time, the kid who would always brush his teeth in the Keeney bathroom at the same time as you, and even that one kid who always slept in your section. Who cares if you hadn’t spoken to these people in months? You’re happy to be back at school and you don’t care who knows.

As you trudge through shopping period, you have less and less energy to devote to these marginal acquaintances. Tired of hearing that your friend’s friend is still fighting to get into The American Presidency (POLS1130), you stay away from the “hello”s and “how are you?”s and consider moving into smile/head nod territory. Yet this sudden change is a testament to your inherent laziness; you fear the awkward situation that will arise due to your obvious lack of effort. What do you do instead? You avoid the interaction at all costs by pretending you don’t even see them. Classic. Read our tips for ducking the duds after the jump.

Whether you like it or not, these situations arise everyday. Like any essential skill, deliberately ignoring people requires patience, perseverance, and practice. Still trying to figure out the best way to go about avoiding these ever-awkward encounters? Don’t worry — we hate awkward hellos as much as you do. As always, BlogDH has your back.

Avoiding Awkward Hellos: The Key Strategies

1) Never make eye contact: Our Golden Rule, if you will — forget that first grade lesson about treating others the way they want to be treated (#ironic). The second you lock eyes, you’ve officially recognized a person’s presence and have no choice but to interact with him/her. Instead, upon recognizing facial features of a person you want to avoid, avert your eyes. No eye contact, no problem.

2) Your phone is your best friend: In these awkward situations, your phone has two essential purposes: it connects you to the people you like and simultaneously severs interaction with the people you don’t. If you sense an uncomfortable encounter on the horizon, whip out your phone and start (or pretend to be) texting a friend, keeping your eyes fixed on the screen until you pass the person. Similarly, you can call someone on the phone to appear engaged and distracted. Suggestion: consider giving your mom a call. She’d love that. <3

3) Everybody, rock your body: Keep yourself distracted with some mindless tasks: pick your split ends, play with your finger nails and cuticles, or fix your hair. Yes, these tasks are mildly gross, but it’s all in the trade-offs, my friends. You can also pretend to stretch or yawn; by inhaling and looking in the opposite direction, you successfully avoid eye contact like a champ.

4) Act like you forgot something: You walk out of Faunce and see someone you don’t want to acknowledge sitting outside on the patio. The solution: make an expressive face and mumble “oh, right,” suggesting that you’ve had some sort of epiphany. Hopefully the person will assume that you forgot something as you run back inside to pursue an evasion route. Great success.

5) Embrace being a space cadet: The more spacey you appear, the less accountable you seem for ignoring someone. If you’re outside, stare up into the sky, observe the clouds and whistle a happy tune. You successfully bypass the encounter, so who cares if you look like a freak? If you’re in a building or walking down a hallway, pretend to be absorbed in the content on random flyers on the wall — by becoming one with your environment, you completely phase the other person out. Oh yeah, tryouts for the Poler Bears. So interesting. That sounds pretty chill. Ha, I’m so punny. Ok, is he gone yet? 

Employ these tactics to effectively avoid awkward encounters with peers, acquaintances, exes, or anyone else you see fit. Oh wait, I forgot something…just kidding, you’re not so bad.


  1. I think this is a joke – at the very least I hope this is a joke.
    I know a lot of people at this school think this way, but under what circumstances is saying hello to someone else who is walking by awkward? Why is necessary to avoid waving back to someone or acknowledging their presence?

    Be friendly & meet someone new. Nothing is awkward unless you are self-concious enough to make it so.

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