How Giving The Nod to a Stranger Can Backfire Unexpectedly
April 12, 2014|Posted in: Uncategorized
Gentleman out there, you know what I mean by giving the nod, don’t you? Of course you do. It’s the thing we do when we see something we approve of but know that saying something would only make it more awkward than necessary. Giving the nod is also a great time-saver, because why waste words when you can say everything you need to say without saying anything at all?
So you may be wondering how exactly this signal can backfire in a way other than straining your neck if you approve too often or making you look like a pigeon if you’re doing it wrong. Simply put, sometimes The Nod manages to have exactly the opposite its intended effect. Personal anecdote time!
One day I was walking down the street just enjoying some fresh air and sniffing the air outside my local bakery. As I was contemplating the health-ramifications of devouring every danish in the window, I noticed someone else come to stand next to me. He was just standing with his hands in his pockets, staring at the display like I had, so before I turned to walk away I gave him The Nod and continued on my way.
Ten seconds later he caught up to me and began to make small talk. My brain was trying to reboot and shut down all at once because how could he so obliviously ignore the purpose of such a basic gesture? This was madness; didn’t he understand that Nodding signaled the end of a silent interaction?
Point of the story is the guy was just one of those really friendly people who think that as soon as you look them in the eye you’re friends for life. He talked at me for about five minutes before he started to go into insane personal details. His wife was leaving him. He was worried about how much time he’d get to spend with his kids. The list went on and on.
We ended up having coffee. If I said I didn’t check my watch a few times, I’d be lying, but that guy probably just really needed someone to listen. So yeah, The Nod did not bring a swift and silent end to a male interaction like it was supposed to, but I think it accomplished something more. Sometimes even something as simple as The Nod can help remind people that we’re all in this together.