We've all been there. At work. Walking down the street. The grocery store. Any sort of long walkway where you might come upon someone else can prove to be very awkward. Do you say hi? What if you're really far away and it's a total stranger, a coworker you have very little in common with, or someone who might startle easily. Once you say hi, you still have to stare at them for a good 10-20 more feet and make fleeting small talk.
Ugh. It's the worst. Thank goodness I've compiled a list of possible tactics for such occasions.
Top 10 ways to avoid awkward hallway encounters:
10. Pretend like you just received a phone call or text. Grab phone. Look at it.
9. Cough into your hand and look away. Oh no. Looks like a coughing attack. Keep at it, champ.
8. Grab chapstick out of your pocket, struggle to open it, apply, struggle to close it, oops it fell, pick it up, put back in pocket.
7. Act really interested in the wall paper/carpet/light fixtures/etc.
6. What's that?? Something stuck under your fingernail? Quick. Get it.
Another approach? Fight awkwardness with awkwardness.
5. Starting humming or whistling or make weird breathing sounds. Pause only to say something generic and overplayed like "living the dream, ay?" while still not looking directly at the person.
4. Stare. Remain silent. Maybe smile. Maybe not. You win.
3. Look directly at your feet. Mumble. A lot.
2. Try for a high-five. Dodge their hand. Say "To slow!!! hahahaha." Jab them in the side and scream "I totally just gotcha!"
1. Turn around. Run the opposite direction.
Note: Depending on the length of the hallway, you may need to incorporate two or more of the above tips to kill extra hallway-walking time. Variations of these also work in elevators, on buses, etc etc.