I’ve done and seen this before, but I never noticed how peculiar it is.
Have you ever been walking down a hallway or footpath (sidewalk) and you notice someone up ahead who you recognise (it’s spelled correctly here, damn it)?
The conversation usually goes something like this:
1: Hey, I haven’t seen you in ten years! How’ve you been?
2: Good, good. It was a good decade. You?
1: Same, same.
2: Well, see you later then.
In high school we did a study of how far away one had to be to do this correctly (3.5 meters. Correctly being defined as just the right amount so that you can have the conversation but not slow down in the slightest on your path), but that’s not the focus of this. The focus is on why and how we do it.
I contend that it’s because we don’t know or care about the person enough to find out more about them, but that you do know and care enough to let them know that you’re still on friendly terms.
It’s beautiful that relationships like this can exist. It gives you the benefit of being recognized in public and knowing lots of people without having to worry about silly details like their names or personality. The ideal ratio is four of these byte-sized acquaintances for every two legitimate acquaintances for every one legitimate friend (4:2:1).
Just so you know.