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Conquering Eye Contact: A Point System that Dictates What to Do after Locking Eyes with Someone You Know

In case you don't know what eye contact looks like, here is a helpful diagram. (via writingraindrops.blogspot.com) Although it happens every day, it’s profoundly startling to realize that you recognize a person that you may see. And yes, through a puffy Canada Goose jacket, a scarf and a Balaclava, that person is looking right back at you. G-wiz, this is awkward—should you wave? Smile? Frown?

This is a points-based system that determines how to act after making eye contact with someone you recognize—let’s call him or her Person “A”. Add or subtract points as you read each step; then, compare your sum to the rubric at the end to determine your least cringe-worthy next move.

1. You know/don’t know A’s name.

+/- 4.0

Knowing a name helps, but it isn’t everything. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with an anonymous “hey, how’s it going?”

2. You met during Orientation Week and haven’t spoken since.

-4.0

Avoid small talk from hell! The inevitable end of your cursed conversation: “We should meet up sometime—you free for lunch tomorrow?”    

3. You had two cups of coffee two hours ago and your bladder is about to explode.

-4.0

According to human biology, finding a public bathroom or adequate patch of grass is priority number one right now.

4. You know that A’s profile picture has 130 likes in two days, a 42 percent decrease in the “rate of like” of A’s last picture.   

-2.0

This is definitely a one-sided Facebook obsession. You will let your creepiness show in a conversation.     

5. You are intoxicated.

+9.0

You charming dog, you can say ANYTHING and A will eat it up!

6. You find yourself cringing at the thought of yet another social interaction.

-4.0

Go watch The Daily Show online, dude. Try meeting a new friend next week.

7. A is hotter than a 6 on a 1-10 scale.

+8.0

Fairly self-explanatory, but just in case: hot acquaintance=better reputation=better friends=better alumni connections=better salary=unwavering long-term happiness

8. You drunkenly met at a party and spoke for half an hour.

+3.0

While this is not adequate basis to start a conversation with someone, being able to bring up A’s spring break trip would certainly grease the wheels of a hypothetical chat. 

9. You have hooked up with A.  

+5.0

If you were smooth enough last Friday night, you’re probably smooth enough to pull off a non-awkward interaction.

10. You have hooked up with A, but A hasn’t responded to your texts and publicly calls that one night with you “like my Watergate scandal.”

-9.0

This might surprise you, but A is not simply playing hard to get—while Nixon was undoubtedly hung like a moose, comparisons to him are generally not ideal. 

11. It’s below 10 degrees outside.

-5.0

Avoiding the stinging pain of ignoring “A” is not worth absorbing the stinging pain of cold air on your face.

12. You were in a class with A last year and you two small-talked every day before lectures.   

-4.0

What the fuck are you going to talk about now? The final exam?

13. It’s before 10 AM.

-5.0

 The likelihood that both parties in a conversation could be charming and witty before 10 is about three percent. Note: If #13 and #5 are true, yikes! Take the rest of the day off.

14. You’re feeling charming, witty, and confident in your physical appearance.

+5.0

Again, see number 5.  

Now, compare your sum to this rubric:

  • <-5: Perhaps even eye contact with A is too awkward. Appropriate move: Dart eyes away or pretend to read a text message.
  • -5-0: A is irrelevant to your life, and vice-versa. Continue staring at A, maybe even glare, because it doesn’t really matter how you’re perceived, anyway.
  • 0-9 points: A is definitely an acquaintance, but you probably don’t have a small-talk type of relationship. Create a distraction, like tying your shoe or closing your eyes like you’re about to sneeze. 
  • 10-20 points: This is a tricky middle-ground. Not acknowledging “A” is definitely not the move, but it’s easy to make a dad-at-an-ethnic-restaurant move which is uncomfortably enthusiastic. Give a half-nod or a small wave; it’s also encouraged, though not mandatory, to smile.
  • 20-29 points:  Yell a vocal greeting while walking; maybe approach “A” and give a quick bro-shake or hug.
  • 29-39 points: Smile with teeth, stop and approach A. Engage with friendly-to-sensual hug for two seconds and then make some solid small talk.
  • >39.4 points: If you got a total this high, you’ve got a fucked up relationship with A. Figure out your relationship with A.

 

Follow these steps and together, let’s make this world…um…less awkward? Is that a good way to end this? Bye.


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