Everyone has done this at some point in their life. It’s one of those cringe-worthy situations where you kind of just want the world to open up and swallow you whole. I call it, ‘The Wave’. Okay, imagine this, or just think back to that memory;
You are walking down a busy street, minding your own business. When out of the corner of your eye you spot someone looking happy, excited and waving at you. So you smile, thinking to yourself, “How do I know this person? They look kind of familiar I suppose, or are they just waving at someone else?”. So you make a decision and you stop and wave back, perhaps you even throw in a nice ‘hey!’. Before the unthinkable happens, they sort of look at you a bit strangely, walk past and hug that other excited person waving behind you, who they clearly know well. Cue Earth-opening-up-and-swallowing-you-whole feeling.
We all bounce back from this in different ways.
There’s the “Pretend you weren’t waving, and brush your hair aside” tactic. Or the “Keep waving and walk away as if you spotted someone else” tactic. Or even the “No, I wasn’t waving at you, I was swatting a fly away from my face” strategy. However, I think the tactic most of us manage is the “Slowly putting hand down, lowering eye-contact and subtly accepting that you were completely wrong and are now completely embarrassed” tactic.
What most of us don’t think about is how equally terrible the person on the other end of ‘The Wave’ feels, and how they have to handle things. Imagine this, or again just recall that memory;
You are walking down a busy street, about to meet up with a friend. When out of the corner of your eye you spot them and start happily waving as you approach. They wave back, before someone just in front of your friend starts smiling, and waving at you too. They might even throw in a nice ‘hey!’. So, you continue smiling, thinking to yourself, “How do I know this person? They look kind of familiar I suppose, or did they just wave back because they thought I waved at them?”. As you get closer, you make a decision and you pretend you didn’t see them and walk past oblivious before greeting your actual friend.
I think we can all establish that it’s just an all together unpleasant experience…and also absolutely hilarious upon hindsight.