Mistaken Friendship

How do you act when you see someone you know but can’t remember where or how you know them?

I have to tell you about a recent encounter I had at the Grossmont Barnes and Noble. Actually, this happened before Christmas but I never got around to posting it. But it’s funny all the same. Funny in a sad kind of way.

I’m in Barnes and Noble looking for a Christmas gift for my cousin. She’s in school planning on a career in Interior Design so I’m over by the architecture section which is next to the photography section which is where I actually was because I already got my cousin’s gift picked out and am now looking for a good book about photography for Photo Julia (didn’t find one).

So there I am, crouched down, looking at the few books about cameras when from around the corner I see a woman come out from a door which I assume leads to an “employees only” area. Normally I wouldn’t care except she stops and asks how I’m doing. I tell her I’m fine and think she will go on to help another customer when she asked what I’m doing way over here. I still don’t think much of it so I answer “just looking for a good photography book”. then I stat to wonder, do I know her? i don’t recognize her yet she seems familiar. Appearantly, this is a two way thing as she starts to make small talk about working over here to help out during the holidays (remember, this is just before Christmas). i keep thinking she’s about to move on when she makes another generally ambiguous comment or question that anyone can answer and still not reveal the fact that we don’t know each other. It goes like this far too long but I keep thinking she’s done talking. She finally says “talk to you later” and goes on her way.

I didn’t want to be rude but I didn’t know how to respond. “Hey lady, I’m not who you think I am!” seems too cruel. I was about to say something like “Where do I know you from?” but by the time I thought to ask, it was clear she thought I was a fellow employee from another store. In the end, it’s probably better that I didn’t reveal her mistake so she could save face but then I got to thinking…Maybe she felt rejected or shunned because I wasn’t as interested in talking as she was. Did I hurt her feelings, making her feel that she was disliked when I simply didn’t know her? I mean I did want her to go away but if she thought a friend was treating her that way…

You may think I was mistaken and that we did actually know each other from some place but I was only about two months into my full-on beard and I was crouched down on the floor so I seriously doubt she actually recognized me from that angle and with my disguise.

Did I do the right thing? Do you think she realized her mistake, especially if she ran into the real co-worker later? Have you ever been the victim or perpetrator of mistaken friendship?

2 thoughts on “Mistaken Friendship

  1. Aw, man… That was ME… I was completely offended that you didn’t recognize me!
    Hee… kidding… Actually, as a former employee, I can assure you that the employee areas are on the other side of the store, so she was probably just some crazy person wandering around looking to chat strangers up. Did she have a lanyard? (is that how you spell that?)
    Frankly, I’m a social misfit, so I try to avoid eye contact with everyone.


  2. That is funny. Happens to me all the time, but I just blurt out “you look familiar, but I can’t place you” Either we laugh about it and they tell me where they might know me from or they realize they’ve made a mistake, blush, apologize, stutter and stammer, laugh nervously and walk away quickly.

    *shrug* no harm, no foul

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