Disclaimer: any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Walking around a small college campus, one might notice that it is common to see the same people day to day. It could be the person you walk past on your street going to classes as you are leaving or all the students you see and recognize in your academic building.
Some of these people you may have talked to before and some, you haven’t. These incidents can make for some awkward interactions.
When I see someone I vaguely know (or used to know) on campus my anxious thoughts scramble to: Should I make eye contact? Are they going to make eye contact? They weren’t making eye contact, but now they are making eye contact so now I feel obligated to make eye contact. Do I flash a smile?
Even worse is when they see you and try to make small talk.
The interactions differ depending on how well you know the person but most have experienced at least one awkward interaction with the following:
4A past love.
It could be someone you slept with once or someone you dated briefly then ghosted. Both are equally awkward, and that awkwardness never goes away. They see you and then continue to ride their bike through campus and you think, ‘I wonder if they’re thinking about my naked body as well.’ The whole thing is worse if the other person has hard feelings. Yikes.
3That resident assistant that knew you smoked pot.
She would always say to “take a lap” because the smell was radiating from your clothes. She confiscated your bong and you’ll never forgive her, but she always insists on having long drawn out conversations with you in the plaza.
2That guy (or girl) at the gym you’ve been crushing on.
There are tons of good-looking people at the gym and that is prime time to check people out. Nobody goes to the gym to get digits though; they go to work on their bodies. Regardless, there are some sexual looks exchanged there.
I want to take home all the dogs I see on campus. I feel bad for asking to pet every single one of them, but what am I supposed to do? I turn into a mushy, baby-talking goon when I see one and I have to love them. I’m sorry, but I’m also not sorry.
Some are fortunate enough to not have an anxious bone in their body, but for the rest of us, this is just a daily expectation: that we will run into somebody familiar and it will be terrible.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to avoid every awkward instance that may occur on campus. The only thing one can do is endure the awkward and keep in mind the other person probably feels just as uncomfortable.