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Pass-by Guidelines

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PostPosted: January 4, 2004 6:40 AM 

Just something a little Seinfeldish I wrote and wanted to know what you all thought and if you had any additional observations to this painful part of "living in a society".
An episode this reminds me of is when Elaine recounts to Jerry a man in her building that her greetings gradually deteriorated with to the point of being snubbed. Anyone remember which episode this is?

Pass-by Guidelines
Bob Cobb

Common courtesy dictates that one of any number of greetings are expected as you walk by another individual, especially in a place of business or school. This is most commonly done by way of the head nod or a few words of greeting. Anything from “Hey”, “How’s it going?” “How are you?” or “What’s up” is generally considered acceptable.

1. The Inevitable pass-by - This is in the event of an undesirable individual spotted heading your direction and a pass-by appears inevitable. If a “bailout” is not possible then you must remain calm and not panic. Attempt to appear cool and non-anxious as the subject approaches.

2. The Bailout – This is a subtle change in direction so that the obligation to greet the subject is removed. Generally this is not possible in a hallway, so hallway bailouts must involve the use of the water fountain or restroom. The key is subtlety as any obvious bailouts could result in a social snafu.

3. The Snub – When at least one attempt is made to greet and returned with an icy stare. Though in rare cases unintentional, this action is tantamount to a slap in the face. This usually results in the aggressor feeling like a pathetic loser and/or that he is being talked about behind his back.

4. The Phony digging – A tactic used very effectively to avoid the greeting while not having to resort to a snub. The phony spot on the ground or object in the sky is useful and the phony cell phone conversation is always helpful. In using this technique, special attention should be given to the timing, as when started too early or too late results in an obvious avoidance.

5. Early eye contact – One of the more sensitive parts of effective pass-by greetings. For some mysterious reason, eye contact with the subject from too far away has quite an adverse effect on the ultimate greeting attempt. The closest explanation is that the premature action delivers a message of pathetic eagerness that can only be rewarded with the icy stare.

6. The stare ahead – This is a technique most often used by highly attractive women usually coupled with an overly brisk pace. For some reason, the egotistical intention is to deliver a message of either extreme focus on the final destination or just simply a blatant act of disregard.

7. The Drive-by – This occurs when the aggressor has waited too long for the exchange. The victim not wanting to appear eager by turning his head and closing the deal as he passes simply just walks on as if the attempt was never made. Generally this is met by a small amount of awkwardness by the aggressor but generally there is an understanding of the actions of the subject and it results in very little unpleasantness.

8. The Mutual snub – This is not common but occasionally both parties will manage the stare ahead without one breaking down and giving “The Glance of Hope”.

9. The Glance of Hope – A pathetic attempt by the aggressor to feel the waters for any hope of an exchange. Normally no greeting or nod is initially accompanied with the glance of hope as the aggressor is unsure as to how it will be received. An unsuccessful glance of hope usually results in the same miserable feelings as the snub.

10. Cell phone guidelines – Generally it’s understood that attempts should not be made by aggressors towards cell phone users. The only exception is with a close friend, possibly a good friend. Otherwise the attempt is usually not returned, the aggressor appears far too eager and possible distraction will occur to the cell phone user’s conversation.

11. Stranger pass-by – Generally the least hassle is associated with this pass-by and a slight nod or smile will suffice.

12. Acquaintance pass-by – Slightly more hassle is involved in this as you must appear to be overjoyed at the prospect of an exchange. Normally a question such as “How’s your day going?” or “How have you been?” is expected.

13. Close friend pass-by – By far the most hassle is involved in this exchange but normally tolerated for they are in fact…a close friend.

14. Same Sex pass-by – Normally for males this is an uneventful and very quick encounter except in the rare case of extreme homophobia. Female encounters are usually conducted with much more flamboyance than the average awkward male exchange.

15. Opposite Sex pass-by – Being one of the more sensitive pass-by encounters, this usually must be done carefully and quietly to avoid the impression of an “unwanted advance”. Since an “unwanted advance” is not in the vocabulary of a man I am not capable of defining it, however 99% of the time this will be the case from the woman’s perspective.

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Copyright ©2003, Mark Carey.