This morning while I was walking into my office building, I happened to glance up and make eye contact with a man just in front of me. He was walking into the building as well. He took a cursory look at me, and then looked more intently and said, “Hey, how are you doin’!” At first I wasn’t sure if he was even talking to me, because while he did look familiar (and I’m assuming that simply because we work in the same building), I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to him.
He continued along a script of small, long-time no-see talk. His face was away from me, so for a moment, I wondered whether he was talking into a cell phone ear piece, but no, he was still talking to me. I squeaked out a “good” in response to his question, but was mostly quiet and unresponsive. I followed him the stairs with my head ducked and escaped as quickly as I could into my suite of offices.
Looking back at it, I wish I had just gone along, responded as if I knew him as well, but in the moment, I felt crippled and cowed by equal parts awkwardness (for me) and embarrassment (for him). I realize that’s a little silly, but I couldn’t shake it. I wonder how he felt afterwards and if he ever realized that I wasn’t the person he thought I was.
What do you do when someone mis-takes you for someone else?