The Non-Awkward Way To Acknowledge Someone You Barely Know As You Walk By

You're walking down the street when you see that friend of a friend you met at that thing. You don't want to stop and have an awkward chat, but you also don't want to be rude. Here's a simple eye contact trick that works every time. Photo by frankieleon.

According to Ronald Riggio, a professor at Claremont McKenna College who specialises in nonverbal communication, it's disingenuous to completely avoid eye contact when you know someone, but it's also odd to make too much eye contact. So, as Riggio explains, it's best to give some quick nonverbal cues like a slight nod, smile or eyebrow flash (raising of the eyebrows) using this method:

Make eye contact at 30 ft. [9m], break eye contact, brief eye contact and eyebrow flash at 10 feet [3m] and then look straight ahead.

You won't look like a jerk trying to ignore them, you won't look like a creep staring at them and you don't have to say a word if you don't want to. All in all, less awkwardness for you and them. It might seem silly to have a method for such a basic social interaction, but as social psychologist Jeremy Nicholson explains in the Science of Us article linked below, having one ready in your mind can help reduce any anxiety you might have toward such encounters.

How to Deal With the Eye-Contact Awkwardness of Walking Down a Long Hallway or Street Toward Someone You Barely Know [Science of Us]


    hmmn, seems rather complex and technical, my method is 99% effective.

    Just walk up and say 'hey mate!'
    I dont need a College professor to teach me how to be polite

      Too much work I just say "ey" along side a small head nod as I pass on by.

    ;> Good luck to those who needed this advice.

      Years a go I was very shy and withheld but it was a constant handicap trying to meet new people, getting a job and just trying to progress in life until one day something snapped and I just woke up feeling more confident, now I have no issues talking to people (random or not) and my ability to be confident in my own abilities has given me some of the best opportunities iv had in my life.

      Now when I hold interviews or see someone I havnt seen in a while and they are the ones often drawn back like I used to be so I would be the one to break the tension and relieve that stress off them because I know exactly what their going through.
      But even today several of my friends refuse to speak to the pretty girl in EBgames (they go quiet and refuse eye contact) and all they have to do is be polite.

    I glare at them making twig breaking motions with my hands.

      I prefer to stare at them and grin like an idiot until they acknowledge me, then I quickly look away and down and keep walking.

      60% of the Time, It Works Every Time.

    better get the tape measure out, i dont wanna mess up the distances.

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