The art of ignoring people in the hall – and its potential downsides

Courtesy of Stock Exchange

Courtesy of Stock Exchange

The halls at UVU do more than keep students warm in the winter and cool between summer classes. A string of buildings connected by halls provide numerous opportunities to practice the skill of avoiding possibly awkward encounters.

You know what I’m talking about here, guys. We’ve all done it. Each of us has foregone the “do unto others” thing and ignored someone in the hall.

When standing back for a moment and looking at this peculiarity, two types of methods can be identified: the preventative and the remedial.

The preventative method requires one to consistently be on guard, although to the casual observer it looks passive. Earbuds in, holding a phone or otherwise creating a blockade between you and a potential encounter fall into this category.

Now, some may not mind saying hello to familiar faces. But when a face isn’t such a welcome one, remedial action may be taken. This takes the form of rummaging through a bag, pretending your mom is calling, or if worst comes to worst, a quick dodge into the bathroom.

If not executed smoothly, however, these attempts are painfully obvious and draw attention when you want to be obscured. In these situations, a last ditch effort to avoid the person may be made, or a cover up head nod may be employed.

With that in mind I ask, why are we so reluctant to spit out one syllable to another person? What will it hurt if we acknowledge a stranger, or even a person that we think we recognize? UVU emphasizes engagement in their curriculum and overall setup, but as students it would seem we are opposed to engaging in normal social exchanges with one another. Our willingness to regularly withdraw ourselves contradicts the very purpose of the education we are given. The ability to engage oneself is a valuable trait in any career. College provides a safe place to practice and improve.

Now, I’m not saying that by uttering hello in the hall you’re going to create a network of associates with helpful connections that will zoom you to the top. But it is safe to say that this small effort may help you build recognition, and recognition creates opportunities in both business and personal matters. In other words, one syllable and some eye contact can benefit you.

So maybe it’s awkward to make eye contact with a stranger, and more so to say hi, but it eliminates the chance of you being the dork running to the bathroom when you can’t remember someone’s name.

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