Thursday, November 11, 2010

Would you do this?

Yesterday I was reading a discussion on one of the parenting websites I visit. The topic was "if you recognise someone you haven't seen in decades (even if they don't seem to recognise you), do you go up and say hi to them?" The person who asked said she has a good memory for names and faces so she always says hello when she sees someone she knows from her past. The example she gave was of seeing her ex-boyfriend from Year 7 and saying hello to him after not seeing him in 36 years!?

I'm not so sure about this.

I also remember faces and names well and had this dilemma when we were on holidays recently. I saw a Speech Pathologist I worked with in my first job as an OT, seventeen years ago. I saw her at the supermarket last time we went to Yamba as well. This time I saw her at the beach with her kids. She was having coffee with a friend at the kiosk. I haven't seen her since I left the job where we worked together.

After spending much of the morning wondering what to do, in the end I didn't say hello. What if she hadn't remembered me? Then I would have felt embarrassed in front of her friend and all of their combined kids. Maybe if she had been on her own I would have done it. She was actually lovely to work with, so it wasn't like it was someone from my past that I didn't like (in which case I wouldn't have the dilemma, I'd just run and hide).

But maybe she saw me and recognised me too and both of us were waiting for the other person to make the first move.

Perhaps on our next Yamba holiday I will finally be brave enough to go up and say hi. But knowing my luck, I probably won't see her next time we go there.

It's interesting that I find this far less of an issue in the online world, although I did follow Simone's blog for quite some time before I was brave enough to comment to see if she remembered who I was. But then it's far less humiliating to say hello to someone online that you know from years ago and not get a response, as opposed to saying hello face to face and having the other person say "Sorry, do I actually know you?"

But when I have stepped out and been brave to contact people I know from years ago on Facebook or through blogging (hi Sheryl if you're reading!), it has been very rewarding. I suppose the face to face thing could be the same.


Wendy said...

But you must remember that some people are far more extroverted than you Karen.'

For me there are lots of factors. Like, Did you have an awkward relationship when you knew them? (you mentioned this) How well did you know them? How much time do you have (i.e. are you in a tearing hurry)?

Karen said...

Reading back over what I wrote I am thinking "all that just sounds so self-absorbed. I can't believe I wasted all that time stuffing around over whether to say hello to her or not." Hmmm....maybe there's a lesson to be learned there.

Because answering your questions in relation to the situation: Did you have an awkward relationship when you knew them? No. How well did you know them? Pretty well, we socialised together a reasonable amount out of work time. How much time did I have when I saw her? Ages, we were just hanging out at the beach.

It's a no-brainer if you're an extrovert. If I was, I would have said hello to her. But being introverted there's all that deliberating and talking oneself into and out of doing it that goes on...

Wendy said...

I understand. I am a shy extrovert. In some situations I'd say hi, other times (depending on my answer to those questions) I'd hide!