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I am a localization manager/translator and intercultural consultant living in Berlin (Germany), passionate about languages, cultures, diversity management, dancing and good movies.  

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Communication without communicating or the art of being James Bond / Emma Peel in everyday life

Sometimes we all are a little bit like James Bond. 
Or Remington Steele. Or Simon Templar. Or your favourite private eye.
(I would love to say that we all are a little bit like MacGyver or Magnum, P.I., but I don't consider the theory very plausible...)

[Casino Royale by Ian Fleming,
edition with a psychedelic Purple cover in Austin Powers' style]

For sure you know the following situation: you are somewhere, suddenly you notice someone that you know or you were used to know to a certain extent (a present or past colleague, a neighbour, an acquaintance, a close friend, a former lover, someone you met only once, whatever) while the person is not looking at you and hasn't seen you so far, so the person isn't aware that you have seen him/her. 

Then you look somewhere else, maybe just for a couple of seconds or for finishing something you are busy with before talking to the person, but you can still catch a glimpse of the person and notice that he or she is suddenly looking at you and recognizing you, while believing that you are not aware of his/her presence yet.

What can happen next? 
The person can come to you and say hello, of course. Or you can go to the person and say hello as well, as soon as you have a chance to. Or... you can pretend that you haven't seen the person and just keep doing what you are doing, for some reason. 


Or... for some reason the other person can go somewhere else, by changing place and still thinking that you don't know that the person was there and that he/she saw you in the first place.

What if the latter version is what actually happens? What if you know that someone saw you and, while thinking to be unnoticed, just went away without saying hello?
What would you think?

[Modesty Blaise - Top Traitor by Peter O'Donnell and Jim Holdaway
Collection of strips from London's Evening Standard
with a Purple cover]

I never get something like that personally, or at least not in a bad way. Actually, most of the time I consider the situation funny and even interesting. Why?

Well, because it gives me the chance to be a little bit like James Bond. Or like Emma Peel. Or like Modesty Blaise. Or like Veronica Mars. Or like... You got the point, I guess. 
While knowing that someone went away without saying hello, I have a powerful piece of information about the person and about my relationship to him/her. 

Since it is not possible not to communicate with someone, while going away without communicating with me, the person is actually already communicating with me, without even knowing it.

[Information is everything
Just ask Batgirl...]

According to a German figure of speech, people always meet twice in life. So I do am probably going to meet the "shy" person once again. And it can even happen that the person is going to need me, to ask me a favour, to have to do with me no matter what.
And then, I will know something about him/her that he/she doesn't know that I know. I will have a little secret...

I am going to be a little bit like James Bond or Emma Peel, after all.
Funny, don't you think?

Tags: Communication, Relationships, Running into someone, Secrets, James Bond, Modesty Blaise, Emma Peel

2 comments:

  1. The amazing thing is that it happened to me last saturday, not once, not twice, but three times in a row (and that I was thinking about you sharing a post on this)!!!! All people pretending not to have seen me... (and for sure I was not exploding with joy for having met them, but I could have said hello whit no problems)... But why... My question is why.. my question is: "how heavy is a "hello"?" "How much does it cost?". Even if you're with a new girlfriend, we could have known each other in a very far past... Even if I was your worse colleague, it could be all gone now...To me, more than shyness, it seems they pretend not have a past in their life.

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  2. I have to say that I am very glad to read your comment, since it happens to me twice in a day as well, on Sunday, and so I decided to write the post.

    I guess that people sometimes are actually shy and they don't know hot to deal with an unexpected situation. They may not be self-confident enough for that.

    Other people, on the other hand, are simply willing to avoid someone in their spare time or to avoid a specific person (me, or you, or someone else).

    As you also said, in my opinion a short "hello" doesn't do harm, and if possible I am always in for it.
    If it is not possible, I have to say that I prefer to know that someone is avoiding me for some reason, instead of thinking that everything is perfectly fine. What about you?

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