I was back home from university for the summer holidays, and was attending a small street festival with a couple of friends who I’d known from my school days – let’s call them Erica and Magda. As it was quite local to where we’d gone to school, we saw lots of former classmates around. Then we bumped into one former classmate who’d we had all been friends with during school, but over the past couple of years had lost touch with, due to not seeing each other five days a week anymore. Let’s call her Amy.
Immediately, Amy said, “Hi,” to Erica, which made sense as she’d been slightly ahead of me and Magda so Amy would have seen her first. Then she launched straight into a catching-up conversation with Erica, without even acknowledging me or Magda.
As we were in a crowd, Magda and I stood off to the side and had our own conversation for the five or ten minutes theirs lasted, it by then being abundantly clear that Amy has no intention of engaging with us.
On the other hand, Amy could have speculated that you and Magda had no intention of engaging her based on your body language.
When Erica and Amy had finished chatting, and Erica rejoined us, we began discussing our surprise that Amy apparently hated both me and Magda now. Erica hadn’t noticed the blanking until we pointed it out to her, and began encouraging us to go over and say something to Amy, but neither Magda nor I wanted to cause a scene/beg Amy to speak to us.
A scene wasn’t necessary. Simply walk up to Amy and say, “It was good to see you again”, while smiling with friendly sincerity, and then angle your body to send the clear, non-verbal message that you are disengaging from the interaction which allows Amy to either draw you back into a conversation or let you leave. If you had done that, your etiquette conscience would have been clear and you would have a better understanding of where Amy was in her relationship to you.
I can only conclude that I had fallen out of her acquaintance between April and August, as she had invited me to her birthday night out in April (when I’d been back for the Easter holidays), which I hadn’t attended for more than a couple of reasons, namely: lack of money due to an unexpected, extended holiday (due to the whole Icelandic ash cloud thing), having to get an early train the next morning, and noticing from the other recipients of the Facebook email that there was a person I really wished to avoid who was going. The latter reason I feel was also valid, because it could potentially have ended with an unpleasant scene, as he is overdue a piece of my mind!
Or you could have attended as a guest, behaved as a guest and been civil to this other invited guest.
Anyway, I had messaged her before that night that I would be unable to attend, giving the first two reasons. Thinking about it now, she never responded.
So, being unable to attend her birthday night out seems to be the reason why I am apparently no longer seen as even an acquaintance to Amy. Not sure what Magda’s crime was, as she wasn’t invited to the birthday outing, so she must have committed it before then sometime.
Or maybe it was simply because everyone had “lost touch” for years as you wrote earlier and the relationship dynamics were changing as a result.
Etiquette questions: Is Amy completely in the wrong here? Should I and/or Magda have confronted her over her rude behaviour? Should I have gone out of my way to go to Amy’s birthday? 0914-10
I think you bring a lot of drama to your relationships with too much speculation, gossip and a black or white approach to how to deal with the possible issues. Before you go looking to remove the etiquette twigs from Amy’s eye, it would be best to work on that huge log in your own first.