The above conversation proceeded well.  Both Pat and  Marge stopped, faced each other and engaged in a friendly exchange in which some “catching up” took place.  More problematical are conversations between people on the move where neither intends to stop and talk, but each feels obliged to do more than merely acknowledge one another and pass on by.  A “Hi, how are you…good,” will not suffice.  Too impersonal.  Could be considered a brushoff.  At least two or three exchanges must take place to satisfy both parties that they’ve not been abrupt, but have met at least minimum conversational  exchange time.

But this is most challenging because the encounter was unexpected and both individuals are intent upon staying on the move.  Some standard scripts should be considered.

  • Explaining why you are where you are.
  • Why time pressures prevent you from stopping to chat.
  • The weather.
  • Status of kids and family.  Be careful – it could take too long.
  • A future event or occasion where both of you are likely to meet (presumably for a “real” interchange).

Conversations require time to develop and flow easily.  Collapsing the process into but a few seconds creates real difficulties.  If one is verbally agile and can think on one’s feet, it can come off well.  Otherwise, there will be awkward moments for both parties.  Of course you can (as some do) pretend not to notice the other person and avoid the issue entirely.

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