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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at HPU chapter.

There are a lot of people on this planet and you have the pleasure of interacting with just a few of them every day. Each person has a lot on their mind with lives just as complicated as your own so you should not expect to be their number one concern. That’s good news if you are self-conscious of one embarrassing moment that you had; it is unlikely that anyone else remembers it. However, if you are trying to meet new people, having them remember who you are should be your first priority.

The lack of importance that you initially have to a stranger will be a dilemma that you must overcome. The sooner you overcome this dilemma, the sooner you will become memorable, and the sooner you will be able to begin making memories with your egocentric peers. One solution to being the insignificant and forgotten character in somebody else’s day is the Expectancy Violation Theory (https://www.communicationtheory.org/expectancy-violation-theory/). This theory suggests that if you act to violate social expectations, the audience will either accept you if you are already perceived positively or reject you if you are perceived negatively. These social violations can occur both in verbal and nonverbal communication. For example, you could violate social norms by maintaining eye contact or pushing the boundaries of personal space, the latter of the two being put to test safely regarding social distancing. Verbally, the social violation opportunities are only limited by your imagination, but research on verbal violations has led to ambiguous results so treat lightly and push boundaries gently.

The consequences of pushing the boundaries of your peers too hard will result in them rejecting you. Rejecting you for defying expectations too hard is no fault of their own. Whether it was someone you knew for a minute or a week, you have likely rejected characters for being too forward and violating expectations too soon in your relationship. Think about that weird guy who did that weird thing that caused you to never think any more or less of him than weird. Maybe he made accusations of far fetched conspiracy theories or he just got too close to comfort, we’ve all had an experience with him. Becoming “that weird guy” is the risk you take when you violate social expectations, but you have already conquered your dilemma of being forgettable.

In short, you are forgettable and everyone is self-obsessed. There is a solution to becoming more memorable and all you need is a good understanding of your cultural social normalities and a little bit of courage. If you courageously violate those social normalities and with it the expectations of your peers, you will surely be noticed. You might be positively received and now you have new lifelong friends, or you are negatively received and now you have the nickname of “that weird guy” that you could have been lifelong friends tell stories about to all their non-violating not so memorable friends.


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