There is nothing that angers or upsets me more than looking like a fool. I don’t even think that people mean to do it but it seems to happen to me all the time. In fact, this semester alone it has happened to me four different times. The worst thing about college is not realizing who people are because in high school you pretty much knew everyone, but in college, it’s a whole new ballgame! You meet so many different people in a semester that the odds of remembering their names are so slim.
There are people that you will pass in the hallway and you can’t remember if you had a class with them, if you held the door open for them one random day, or if it’s someone that you’ve actually had a conversation with before. If you’re anything like me, I will wave to random people before I realize that I don’t actually know them, I just saw them in the hallway one day and remembered their face. It’s a disaster. I started to wonder if this has happened to anyone else, so I talked with some friends and turns out we have all partaken in some of these mistaken identity moments…
“I remember walking out of class and I saw a guy sitting in a chair down the hall. I thought it was the guy I had a class with a year ago and I was super excited to see him because he was cool then, but we hadn’t talked since. I started waving like crazy and got offended when he looked at me and then back down at his computer. As I got closer I realized that not only was it not him, but they actually looked nothing alike…”
“I started dating this guy and from the stories his friends tell, he didn’t have the best relationship beforehand. I always remind him that his ex was a jerk to him and dumb for letting him go. I finally got to see a picture of her and it turns out that this girl that I have been bashing for a couple weeks is the same girl that I talk to every other day in class. In fact, we just talked the other day about the surgery she had on her knee a month ago.”
“I have a really good friend and when I saw her sitting at a table in the common area, I took a seat next to her. I told her about how I was studying for this test I had next class and was confused when she smiled and then looked back down at her phone. I found out later that who I thought was my friend was really her twin sister.
She had texted my friend that some guy had sat down with her when there were three other tables open and started talking about some test he had. Not only am I classified as the creepy guy, but now all our mutual friends joke around about it.”
“I was out with some friends one night and there was this bouncer that was super attractive. I had been staring at him all night long and finally, a friend of mine blurted out that I turned my head every time he walked by. Almost immediately someone from our table went over to him and told me that I had been checking him out. The bouncer came up and asked to talk to me and then explained that he had a girlfriend and was flattered, but that he couldn’t dance with me. Turns out this bouncer sits two seats in front of me in my class and though we were once both super talkative, neither of us say a word in class anymore.”
“I was picking up take-out the other day and as I walked out I told the cashier to have a nice day. He responded with ‘I’ll see you in philosophy’ and I didn’t even know what his name was…”
“While I crammed for a test, I asked the girl next to me what she had gotten for one of the example problems. We continued talking and I went to tell her a story about my roommate when she blurts out my roommate's name. I was so thrown off that I didn’t even know what to say, how does this girl know my roommate's name and who I am?! Turns out they are on the same sporting team and I never made the connection.”
“I was walking to math class and I saw this girl who looks exactly like a girl I went to tech with. I screamed hello in a crowd full of people when I realized she wasn’t Sidney. Embarrassingly enough, this was not the first time that it happened…”
It happens to everyone. College is a rough place and unless you hang out with someone every day it is rare that you will be able to recognize them from behind down a hallway. We aren’t in high school anymore, folks. The embarrassment of our own stupidity is fast approaching and we must all be ready to deal with it. Let this serve as a reminder that the next time someone walks up to you and says hi, even if you've never seen them before, just say hello back.