Social code

I see you on the street. I know you know me. I say hello. Say hello, come on! Why do you hide your head? Pretend you didn’t see?

Isn’t that a familiar situation? Isn’t it familiar to occasionally do that to someone you’re not quite sure they remember you or how they think of you, or if you just couldn’t catch their sight at once. What makes these situations awkward, awful, or terrifying to many, is often case a lack of external reference. If there is no commonly agreed code of how to proceed, the whole responsibility of the outcome of this situation is solely on you. Responsibility terrifies many.

Awkward bumping into people is just one example of situations that many people utterly fail at. have you thought of how much effort do you put into friendships? How do you treat the people you care about? How do you act in a conversation?

Look them in the eye.

Does it need an explanation? If eyes are too creepy to look at (wtf?), look at their nose, mouth, cheeks, face in general. Don’t look on the ground. Looking at the ground makes you seem insecure and not sure you want to talk to that person. It’s okay to occasionally look at mid air, it occurs anyway if you search from your memory. Look at them at least occasionally. It shows respect.

Match their emotions.

This applies mainly to conversations with friends. If your friend is exhilarated and you are emotionless like a brick, it will distance you from each other and inhibit them from showing more true feelings. Think, if you have shit to worry about, are you able to put that aside and cheer along with your friend? If you have shit to worry about, can you postpone sharing your worries just a bit? Are you actually feeling glad that your friend has that reason to feel so well – and if you’re not, why do you spend time with them? And from the other side – if your friend’s worry is more serious than your own joy is great, are you trying to support them, listen and understand, or are you trying to force a mood change to match yours?

Say hi. Kind of always.

When you see someone you know, the best to avoid an awkward “I’m not sure if they saw me or not, it would be awkward now, it feels like it’s too late…” is to have a rule up your sleeve. Every time you recognize someone you know – acquaintance or friend, say hi. If they are alone in a tram and didn’t see you, go hit up a conversation. Don’t you feel nice if people recognize you? If not, of course, this is not for you. If you do, it’s generally an appreciated way to escape that awkward feeling of not knowing what to do.

However, if there’s a reason to believe they might want to avoid you – signs that show would be that when they talk to you, their answers are short, tone and face emotionless or rather hostile, they avoid all physical contact, or you’re sure they saw you on that tram and then quickly turned their head the other way, it’s best not to approach. If you can’t tell, but something feels off, do the brave thing and ask if they feel uncomfortable around you.

If you walk past someone on a street and they surely haven’t recognized you, always say hi. It shows people they are remembered and it makes them feel good.

Support your friends.

Because supporting all people is too much to ask. A friend would stop a random car to get a friend to a hospital and make sure they’re in good hands if that is necessary. A fear of strangers nor of responsibility shouldn’t shade your claim to be a good friend.

What do you do to empower your friends? Make them know they can do what they want to do. It’s good to be brought down to earth sometimes, but if you do it all the time, you kill their motivation and belief in themselves to get started with anything. Here’s a topic of contemplation: is your definition of love unconditional, meaning you deeply care about the well-being of the ones you claim to love, and wish them to do well, or is it possessional, meaning how they make you feel and what you get from this matters more?

Support your friends in being themselves or what they desire to become. If your friend likes to be goofy occasionally, or they have a different laugh, or they like to sing in public or they like to talk about something that fascinates them. Let them be and do that! Go along with crazy stuff they come up with. Stop inhibiting them and letting them inhibit you. Give less fucks of other’s opinion.

Seek to understand.

This is the holy grail of communication. You ain’t needin’ to agree to understand. And agreeing is boring. After all it’s the end of the discussion. Seeking to understand leads you to learn new things about not only the person in front of you, but also about the world around you, different perspectives there can be had, and you get to know yourself better. It leads you to gain friends, and become a better person.

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