By Mary Richardson, Staff Writer
You already know what he’s doing this weekend. You already know what he did last weekend. You also already know where he’s from and what he studied in his undergrad. You’ve cycled through these questions the past two months as well as exchanged a few unenthusiastic comments about having so much reading.
Yes, we’re talking about that one person you don’t really know but happen to run into a lot on campus. You two haven’t really shared enough experiences to be friends, but the awkward eye contact and wave mean you have some type of more-than-stranger, less-than-platonic relationship. However, now you’re at a point where you’ve got to take this acquaintanceship to the next level. You can’t look down at your phone every time you guys pass by each other, so here are some spicy conversation starters to jumpstart your clumsy chats:
Scour the Internet
Grab his number when you see each other at IBIC or the Commons or outside Snell or by the Pub or around the dorms. Because you see him everywhere, and you will continue to see him everywhere for the rest of the semester. But by having his number, you can Whatsapp each other funny memes, IG videos, and political articles, and this way you can drop references to what you two had been sending each other. And voila, an inside joke or a mutual disgust for the same politician is born.
Don’t worry, this will be very low maintenance communication as your online responses will mostly be variations of ‘hahaha’ or ‘Great article.’ It’ll also make you feel better that when you’re browsing the Internet looking for inspiration, you’re also forming a bond, not just procrastinating.
Mix Up Your Accessories
Wear something different and unique each day that both of you can comment on. That’s at least 30 seconds of conversation right there. Whip out those super bold earrings you got from another country which will seque perfectly into a story about how awesome and adventurous you are. Or if one day you wear a T-shirt with words on it, he can say it out loud, and then you two can laugh when you joke it’s good to know he can read. Do stay away from anything that says ‘Juicy’ because that’ll set everything back into awkward territory, and you’ve already made so much progress. It’s also very out of fashion.
Another idea is to put on an engagement ring — not because you’re recently engaged, but just to buy a little conversation time. Take a moment to see how long you can talk about the perfect matching of the string quartet with the wine country venue you lined up (that you didn’t actually line up). This tactic will take a bit more long-term commitment.
This one is pretty self-explanatory and can probably only be used once per person, and at the end of the semester. Which is fine because it’ll be finals, you’ll have forgotten what sleep is, your brain will be fried, and who knows, maybe you are dying.
If the conversation comes to a screeching, grinding, painful halt, have the social grace to roll over and pretend to die. For foreshadowing, you can also start complaining about headaches weeks earlier in anticipation for your fake death in front of your acquaintance. If you don’t have class or plans after, really commit and show signs of rigor mortis because maybe it’ll take some time to receive medical attention. Once the ambulance picks you up and is an appropriate distance from campus, break role, let them know you’re okay, and go about your day wherever the paramedic drops you off. This will give you something to talk about later, too.
If this doesn’t help your brief on-campus encounters, fellow students, I don’t know what will. Good luck!