“Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill. ” Buddha

Connections or (in my case misconnections) can be awkward. Have you ever had an encounter while in a store, or in line and you strike up a conversation with someone in front of you? The conversation flows so well, you stay engaged until check out then once the transaction is completed, nothing. No exchange of contact information. No nothing. What do you do?

I’ve experienced this scenario more times than I ‘d like to admit. I recall years ago on Thanksgiving day, my mother needed me to stop at the store. So I went to Ralph’s and once in line a good looking young man got in line behind me. Since the line was long, we struck up a conversation. We had a lot in common. He was in the store for his mom, he was the youngest child and he was single too. As our conversation continued even the cashier was looking back and forth at us as we conversed. When my transaction was over, he hadn’t asked me for any contact information, so I said it was a pleasure talking to you and wished him a Happy Thanksgiving and left. But when I reached my car, I reflected on the encounter and immediately had regrets. I thought about that guy and our conversation for a few weeks with regret.

I regretted we didn’t exchange contact information and I regretted that I was and still am socially awkward. See I’m strange, I am VERY outspoken BUT when it comes to meeting guys, I become VERY shy. I am more comfortable when men pursue me. I’ll engage in a conversation but I am not going to ask you for your contact info and as a result, I experience social regrets.

I had a similar encounter a few weeks ago. I saw a gentleman standing in line in the neighborhood grocery store. He smiled and said hello and I did the same.  I found my item and headed for the checkout line. As I was approaching the line, the cashier tapped him because he was opening up a new line. At that moment, I was about to get in line when he signaled me to go in front of him. He said since you only have one item you can go before me. I accepted the offer and jokingly informed him that I was writing a check for my $3 item. He looked at me and we both laughed.  

A few seconds later, as if we had already been discussing this, he says  “I remember where I know you from.” Shocked, I asked from where? He said a funeral. I inquired, a funeral? Whose? Turns out, It was a high school friend whose services was a year and 5 months ago (in January 2018).  My high school classmates and I are close and everyone pretty much knows each other or knows OF each other. So, I asked if he went to Morningside and he explained that he used to coach there and played college football with my friend.  At that very moment, I  remembered having this same conversation with him after the funeral services

By now, the cashier has opened the lane, removed the closed sign and my transaction was completed, I thanked the cashier and told him it was good to see him. Although semi-flattered, I picked up my bag and left. Sound familiar? Once again, I was leaving with regret.

I left with regret because I didn’t further the conversation. It could have been an opportunity to -if nothing else -make a good friend. He could have been a walking buddy. A drinking buddy. A confidant. Someone to go to concerts, movies, and plays with. Just someone to hang out with. A new friend. Who knows?  The guy (whose name I never caught) was alright looking. He wasn’t Thanksgiving dude or Denzel but he wasn’t Flava Flav either. He was a bit overweight but who isn’t? He had external fixable traits and from his store purchases, I could tell he was probably single.

A few days later, my cousin, Derwin stopped by and I asked his thought about this encounter and how he thought I should have responded.  He said by him acknowledging that he remembered me meant I made a good impression on him and he had fond thoughts of our interaction. Especially since it was so long ago. My cousin explained that guys are shy and fear rejection, as I listened, I am thinking to myself so are women. He suggested that I needed to send him prompts that would have shown my interest. Prompts?  

How could I have sent any prompts when he had me playing the “remember” game? I explained to my cousin that I felt at a disadvantage because he had seen me but I don’t remember seeing him, so mentally I go into self-preservation mode. Is he a stalker? All of a sudden, “I remember you” isn’t a compliment any more because now I’m making sure this doesn’t become stalkerish.

It goes without saying, if you make a statement such as, “I remember where I know you from” then immediately, you should continue with the who, what, when, where and why.  He should have said, I remember where I know you from….. I met you at such and suchs’ funeral. You went to Morningside, etc.  This would have opened the door for a conversation. It would have evoked a comfortableness that would have allowed the conversation to flow easily for both of us. I would have been able to say, I remember talking to you after the services. Which would have let him know that I remembered him too but instead, his delivery only left me with one response-CRICKETS? 

The rejection or the fear of rejection adds to the awkwardness of potential connections for both male and females. Which means that I will probably find myself in this situation again but, my hope is that one day, I’ll encounter a guy who wants to continue our conversation out of the store line over a glass of wine.

SHIP TALK: Have you had an encounter and left with regret? What did you do? Was my cousin right when he suggested I should have given him prompts to show an interest? What are the prompts you use?

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