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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Letters from Mallory Hawkins

I have a word for people like you: assholes.

I know name-calling isn’t nice, but neither is you looking every other direction than at me in order to avoid saying hello. You know who you are, and you know that you are indeed an asshole.

Let me set the scene, so we are all on the same page. I am walking to class, without a care in the world, when I see you — a person whose face is vaguely familiar from a drunken night out or a relationship gone wrong. My first thought is, “”SHIT!”” I look around for a possible escape route, but there’s no way out.

I start thinking of ways to avoid you at all costs — are my glasses dark and big enough to serve as camouflage? Can I pretend to not see you because I am sending a fake text? Should I look at my feet for the next 30 yards?

The answer to all of these questions is no. The only solution is to put on my big girl panties and acknowledge you.

Meanwhile, it is obvious that you are going through the same scenarios in your head in order to avoid me. But here we are, walking toward each other just like a scene from an old Western movie. Instead of pulling a gun, I say hello, while your weapon of choice is the cold shoulder.

Now this already-awkward advance has turned into a more uncomfortable situation — a situation that leaves me feeling embarrassed and you feeling like a bad person.

Honestly, who doesn’t say hello? It is the polite thing to do. You, however, must have been raised by wild animals and therefore do not understand how to be polite. Just say hello. I don’t care what happened over the weekend or in the past, nor do I care if you think you are better than me. You are not, and you just proved it.

I too dread the thought of walking past you and having to make eye contact. I would rather pretend that you do not exist. The fact is, though, we go to the same university and walk the same campus. Our paths are going to cross because that’s just the way life is, so we have to decide whether we are going to make things awkward and one-sided or cordial. I, for one, prefer cordial.

While I am addressing how to greet someone on campus, let’s discuss those of you on the opposite end of the spectrum, the eager-to-greet. Please spare me, and everyone else around you, the shrill hello three octaves above your normal voice. No one, not even my mom, is that excited to see me. You are not fooling anyone, and you just sound like a 5-year-old.

The same avoidance policy can be applied for the drive-by “”Hello! How are you?”” If you are going to ask me how I am, you’d better give a damn. If not, just stop after the hello.

On the guy front, feel no need to wave, but please do use a verbal greeting along with that head nod, more accurately referred to as a bro-nod. I cannot tell you the perplexity that runs through my mind when you give me a bro-nod. What does it mean? How do I respond? Do I bro-nod back? How much of a nod is visible enough without looking like my neck is broken? I have enough anxiety issues already. I do not need your bro-nod to be added to the list. A simple hello with your nod will allow me to respond with a “”hello”” and avoid all confusion.

Who wants awkward situations in their lives? They do make for good stories, but that isn’t enough to make up for feeling weird and uncomfortable. Everyone loves charismatic, friendly people. Be that person. Don’t be an asshole.

— Mallory Hawkins is a communications senior. She can be reached at

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