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That Was Awkward: The Art of Blowing Someone Off

So here’s the low-down: Plans have been made for the evening, one person involved in said plans changes his or her mind, said person avoids the plans and blows the other person off. While this situation alone can be extremely awkward, for this post I am going to focus on the even more awkward aftermath of this occurrence: the plan canceller runs into the plan cancel-ee after the plans have been cancelled. While you may consider me vain for writing a blog about awkwardly running into people I’ve denied to date or hang out with, I know this situation resonates with many people, probably including many of my wonderful readers. Plus, I am not in any way suggesting that I have multiple gentlemen callers who desperately want the chance to date me but simply do not meet my standards. In fact, I was inspired to write this blog last week during my spring vacation (SPRING BREAK WOOO) in Punta Cana during an encounter with a roughly 5’3’’, pink braces-sporting, Spanish-speaking young man at the front desk of the resort we stayed at. The extent of my knowledge of the Spanish language resembles Kirsten Wiig’s toast to her BFF Maya Rudolph in the bridal shower scene of Bridesmaids. Thus, my only recent rendezvous with this situation occurred in a foreign country thousands of miles outside of my general dating pool with somebody who doesn’t even speak English. Clearly I’m quite the catch.

Rather than analyzing exactly what makes running into a recent blow-off so cringe-worthy, I will set the scene for you and thus enable you to empathize with me through second-hand embarrassment. I was standing with my friend at the resort’s front desk while I paid for excessive amounts of aloe and sunscreen to relieve the bright red sunburn taking up residence on my cleavage. As I took out the cash to pay for the absurdly high-priced products, the man at the front desk noticed the wristband I was wearing that enabled me access to a nearby nightclub for the week. He asked my friend and I if we would be at the club that night, and upon our positive response, he asked for our names so that he could message us on Facebook (this was all mostly communicated through hyperbolic hand gestures given the language barrier). At first, we thought quite highly of this sweet young man with pink braces, so of course we gave him our names. However, he became less tolerable when he later called our hotel room in the middle of my precious naptime to tell me that many people named Sam Fox appeared on his Facebook search, and to ask me which one was the correct profile. I thought this was a bit of a force, and started to doubt my decision to accept his Facebook friend request. When he sent me consecutive messages asking where I was and telling me to meet him at the front desk before heading to the club, and that he wanted to dance with me all night, I was officially freaked out and turned off my phone. When we saw him later that night at the club, I internally panicked and felt very awkward, therefore limiting the conversation to a brief wave and perfectly sober “heyyyy whatsfghaaaap.” I returned to my hotel room and discovered a Facebook message from him saying that he saw me at the club but that I acted strange as if I didn’t know him. While I firmly believe that I made the right call in blowing this guy off, that did not ease my anxiety about seeing him around for the rest of the week. I began to dread an awkward encounter and attempted to avoid the front desk at all costs.

I am not a very confrontational person (which I’m sure you gathered given my super mature avoidance of my cell phone all evening), so I wouldn’t want to have to explain to this guy why I didn’t hang out with him that night. More importantly, I am not a very socially poised person, so it would be extremely uncomfortable for me to act as if everything was normal and to simply smile and start up a casually friendly conversation. While the latter is probably the most mature approach to dealing with this situation, I chose a third option: avoidance. Even this option proves to be awkward because I’m pretty sure no good can come from making eye contact with the person you blew off and then quickly turning and running away from this person without a word. This is especially awkward for me because I don’t know how to run and have trouble figuring out what to do with my arms while running, so I would make eye contact and then waddle away like a duck/monkey hybrid. Therefore, no matter how you choose to deal with the situation, after running into somebody you denied you will always leave the encounter thinking to yourself: That was awkward.

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Sam Fox

Columbia Barnard

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