We’ve all done this… You bump into a friend and they are with someone you may have met a few times before but don’t know too well. So instead of saying “Oh you are Mary I met you at that work event,” and acknowledging them, you let yourself be reintroduced. I don’t think this is a problem for only introverts or millennials, I have seen this play out for extroverts and all age groups. I have let myself be reintroduced to people I have already met quite a few times. Every time I kick myself immediately because it makes talking about the past you have super awkward. We are all setting ourselves back in our relationships and friendships by restarting every time we see those more peripheral people in our lives. I am determined to kick this prideful habit but…
Why do we all do this- pretend to not know someone?
My thoughts when I’m in a situation like this always go something like this. – ‘What if they don’t remember me(how embarrassing)’ I’m pretty sure they’re named…but what if I’m wrong? It comes from a place of pride, not being noticed or feeling important. Feeling too afraid to be wrong about their name. Feeling too afraid to open up to this new relationship.
Sometimes I know so much about someone that I didn’t learn from them that I feel uncomfortable. Or, it’s not the fear of opening up it’s the fear of asking silly questions. Sometimes I already know a lot about the person from some source other than them which makes me feel uncomfortable making small talk. I already know the answers. That’s just it. It’s fear.
Let’s all agree to stop with pretending. Let’s all agree to be vulnerable. Open yourself up to a new friendship. Help those around you feel comfortable by acknowledging them and their humanity. It takes some vulnerability to admit “Hey, I know you, I thought you were cool/interesting and that’s why I remember you.” We are making ourselves vulnerable to them by admitting they stood out to us. We are afraid they don’t remember us. What if there was nothing interesting about us that they remember?
Imagine instead of acting cool and distant that you acknowledged that there was previous relationship, however weak or new, already started with that person. Now instead of starting with faux introductions you can move forward in the friendship and start to really get to know that person. When you already know something about the other person it’s actually great! Then you already have talking points to use with them.
Everyone wants to feel acknowledged and important. Every person wants to feel like they matter. By pretending that we don’t know someone we unconsciously are showing them that they do not matter and that they are not important.
Love your neighbors.
How many great people do we miss out on because of pride- by admitting that we know someone? How silly. I can’t wait to be vulnerable and get started on deepening peripheral relationships into real friendships.
I hope you get started today as well. Good Luck!