Unless you are one of the lucky few people who move far away from where you grew up, chances are you will occasionally run into people from your past you thought you would never see again. Sometimes this can be a positive. More often than not, this is bad. If you really liked the person and they liked you then you would have kept in better touch and this strange encounter would not have been as unpleasant. There are a lot of bad things about seeing someone you haven’t in a long time; here are four.
1) The Stare
When you bump into someone you haven’t seen in a long time, the encounter begins with a stare. It’s the stare of familiarity and questioning your own eyes. A mix of disbelief and disgust, the longer this stare lasts the more likely you are to recognize each other and put a name to the now chubbier face. To avoid this, try to never make eye contact with anyone. If you end up getting sucked into someone’s stare, deny being who you are. You will leave your former classmate embarrassed and questioning their own sanity, a goal we should all have. You could always get lucky and they may not feel it necessary to acknowledge they recognize your face. When this happens, donate some money to your local church because only divine intervention could make a person so lucky.
2) The Catch-Up
Once it has been confirmed that you are you and they are them, you two will have to have a catch-up on what you have been doing in life. This becomes a small gloating contest or a pity party, depending on the relationship and the people. Either people brag about how great their life is or try to gain sympathy for how they never quite achieved becoming a combination astronaut/quarterback. Whenever I am involved in a catch-up, I like to keep things mysterious. Never let people know you cry in the shower. In fact, make them wonder if you even do shower. There’s no reason why this person needs to know about your life and there’s even less why you should care about theirs. They are the one who stopped inviting you over anyway. The only thing you can hope for now is they ask you for a place to stay because they were kicked out of their home. Only then is the catch-up a good moment in life.
3) The False Compliments
We all love being told we look good. When someone has not seen you in a long, they have the perfect excuse to ask you if you lost weight or finally got that much needed plastic surgery while sounding complimentary and not insulting. Most of the time, these compliments are false. Furthermore, they sometimes come off as more insulting. The best thing to do in this instance is to take the compliment with a grain of salt. Let it make you feel good then move on. A lot of compliments people give are fishing for their own or because they feel bad or at one point felt bad for you in some ways. So I guess really you should punch anyone who tells you that you look better, unless you clearly do look better. It’s best you just stay away from old acquaintances.
4) The Future Plans
At the finale of these life rendezvous comes the future planning. Phone numbers, email addresses, Facebook accounts, and everything else are exchanged. The people may suggest getting together and actually trying to relive the good old days, which we are always reminded were not so good once we are with this person more frequently. Luckily most people are flakes and plans almost never go through. There is always a reason why you lose touch with people. Do not go against nature and try to change things. It’s important to note that you should never get your hopes up if you are the kind of person who is happy when you see a friend from the past. We are fortunate enough to live in a world where it is nearly impossible to disappear from others. If they liked you so much they would have contacted you earlier than your meet-up in the grocery store when you both decided to cut through the feminine product aisle.