An event today that occurs to me semi-frequently reminded me to blog about this. I don’t think I’m alone in this behaviour but it’s certainly strange.
When I pass people on the street that I once knew quite well, perhaps over a decade or more ago, I don’t often stop to say hello or give any acknowledgement that I recognise them, and, if they’re like me, they’ll behave the same (though they may have genuinely not registered me).
One of my excuses is that I’m mildly short-sighted and, due to only needing glasses for distance vision, it might take a few more paces for me to really recognise someone, but on reaching those few paces, it seems like they’re not making eye contact. Maybe they did a few paces back and it seemed like I blanked them? Regardless, I’ve no idea why I don’t take the initiative to stop and say hello.
It’s much easier when more socially fluid people come up to me and say hello first. I can start a conversation very well, but I’m more relieved by someone else doing so.
I think a few things unconsciously run through my mind: Does this person really remember me (they should, but…)? Did they really like me enough (I think so)? Should I mind my own business as we last talked so long ago that you could classify that as two different people meeting?
It perhaps doesn’t help that I’m not part of the Facebook crowd – I’ve myriad reasons for not being on it, though my closest friends just call it stubbornness – so I’m not connected to old my history to make chance meetings easier, but I’ve never been interested in rekindling old ties in a sort of artificial way. If I chose to cease communicating with someone completely, it was likely because I/we didn’t really care; not that I may have disliked the person, but I allowed them to float away from my circle, and likewise. I also prefer looking at old times in my memory and not ruining them with a forced attempt to reconnect; but that’s just me. I favour maintaining and making new friends. I’m unlikely to attend any school reunions.
That said, I would like to say ‘hello, how are you? It’s been a while’ to someone I knew well enough and saw again in personby chance. I have no idea how I’d get over that though. Maybe when I get a little more older nostalgia will make me bolder. So long as I still have my memory. And they still have theirs.
It’s possible that this is just a selected Londoner thing, in which case, I invite a swarm of foreign psychiatrists to come and sort us out.