I Triple Dog Dare You To Not Give the BC Look-Away

Picture this: you’re walking to your 10:30 class on a Tuesday morning. Looking and feeling good, you’re ready to take on the day. You can do this. Almost hump-day. As you walk through the quad, you notice an acquaintance coming toward you. She lived on your floor freshmen year and you had a short conversation in the mods this weekend about how much you both hated your freshmen RA. You can feel that she knows you’re walking toward her and are ready to smile and say hello when suddenly, BAM! She looks away from you and down at her phone, even though she’s acutely aware of your presence and you know it. Why won’t she say hi to you? Did you say something dumb? Do you have something on your shirt?

Odds are good that you didn’t do anything wrong, actually. You just got BC-Look-Away’d. What is this phenomenon I speak of? The BC Look-Away is tale as old as time. When many students see someone walking towards them who they do not view as a best friend, close friend, or anyone worth saying hello to, they avert their eyes and pretend to not have seen them. How kind, right?

The question on all of our minds: why do BC students refuse to acknowledge each other’s presence? Here are a few reasons that we can think of:

  • You don’t want to get involved in a lengthy conversation and need to get somewhere quickly.
  • You want to avoid an awkward situation, e.g. saying hi to your best friend’s freshmen roommate who you never really got to know, smiling at your hook-up from last weekend, or greeting someone who you’re no longer friends with.
  • You fear not having anything to talk to this person about.
  • You would rather stare at your phone background and pretend that you’re doing something important, thus ignoring the person entirely and emphasizing your seemingly busy life.
  • You’re in a bad mood and don’t want to say something that could hurt someone’s feelings.
  • You lost your voice.
  • You’re a mute.
  • You hate everyone.

While the last three items on our list are sarcastic, the other items are very real. You cannot deny that the look-away is a prominent issue on campus. It stings a little when I’m walking on campus, see someone who I feel deserves a hello, and am denied immediately. Since when are others undeserving of a smile or a greeting? Since when are BC students, known for holding open doors for strangers and being ‘men and women for others,’ the ones avoiding a quick and friendly conversation? I’m not asking for you to have a full blown conversation in the middle of the quad with me or ask me how abroad was. Neither of us wants to have that conversation during the rush between classes. But just ask others how they’re doing. That’s all! How are you? Three words. Not too much to ask, literally.

The irony of the BC Look-away lies in the student body committing the faux pas. As aforementioned, Boston College students pride themselves on their ability to be kind to strangers. We hold the door open for people we’ve never met. We partake in every community service activity possible. Is it no longer a service to the community to be publically kind to those you know?

I don’t care if you want to avoid an awkward conversation or fear having nothing to talk about. I don’t want to hear that your bad mood kept you from greeting someone. Say hi. Ask how someone is doing. That’s it.

We often forget the importance of small acts of kindness. While going on a service trip to South America is a hugely kind act, what can be more important is acknowledging and caring for those around you. UGBC is focusing on mental health this year, a cause that affects more people than we know. A factor that can cause mental unhealthiness is the feeling of isolation. While we are a student body of 9,000, it is very easy to feel alone when no one acknowledges you. By not saying hello, were subtly sending a message that we either don’t see someone or we don’t want to see them. We wish they weren’t there so that we didn’t have to say hi to them. Poor us. Saying hi is the worst, isn’t it?

Your utterance of the words ‘hey, how are you?’ can change a person’s day. On a day when someone is feeling sad, alone, or generally down, your words can bring him or her back to life. To feel that someone actually sees you and acknowledges you reminds you that you’re important and that you matter to others.

While the BC Look-Away is a small fault of the usually wonderful, intelligent, and kind students that make up Boston College, it is something that we need to improve upon. You and everyone you know is deserving of a warm greeting, even if it’s only a subtle smile.

With this article, I triple dog dare you (yes, I went there) to say hi to those who you know around campus. Put down your phone and look around. Your kind actions make a difference even if it’s only a smile or ‘hey.’ Consider that your small act of kindness could change someone’s life.


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