Opinion: ‘Missed connections’ avoidable

DESMOND MILLER / GUARDSMAN

By Roxanne Bequio
Staff Writer

You’re going about your own business, when someone catches your eye. Thoughts rush through your head as you formulate a plan to initiate conversation with this complete stranger. However, this proves to be a difficult task, seeing how first impressions are everything and you would really like to approach them without pervading a sense of creepiness in your demeanor.

You stand there dumbfounded, and at a loss for words, despite this overwhelming desire to approach and communicate. “Do something! Say something!” you think to yourself. You’re screaming on the inside, but it’s too late. The person has already left, you hesitate, and regret takes over.

This is merely a generalized scenario and since there are so many variations of it, I’m certain we can all relate, if at least to some extent. Shyness, fear of rejection, apprehensions about impressions left, and bad timing all factor into why many of us just don’t approach confidently.

For a second chance, some turn to the internet in an attempt to forge connections with others. A prime example of this is the Missed Connections section of Craigslist, an online forum where people can anonymously post about their encounters with others, or search through posts that might be about them.

I’ve only recently stumbled onto Missed Connections, and though I have never used it for my own personal use, I still find myself reading through many of them out of sheer curiosity.

There’s just something fascinating about being able to tap into an area of human expression which is typically closed off to strangers. After investing so much time into reading these postings, I admit to rooting for these anonymous posters and hope they do get reunited with their Missed connections.

Despite recognizing the benefit of having second chances, part of me still believes one should try and make it work the first time around. It almost seems as though we’re losing our ability to openly communicate with those we want to speak to.

Rather than speaking directly, many hold in their thoughts until they are able to flush them out anonymously. Why complicate things further and prolong the hesitation with Missed Connections?

It’s easy to see the appeal of Missed Connections, because it provides one with a second chance at divulging emotions anonymously, while bypassing the dreaded “face-to-face” rejection.

It also seems like a simple enough process: write a descriptive post about a certain someone, put it online, wait, and get a response from the intended person. The world of Missed Connections, however, is a complicated one.

It isn’t always best to rely on Missed Connections as a viable tool for re-establishing contact. Serious posters may never get a response and can be left feeling discouraged.

Other times, vague or misleading responses make the process even more difficult. The success rate of people finding their ‘missed connection’ is also unknown, since postings are done anonymously and there is no way to keep track of whether of these attempts end favorably.

If given the opportunity to abandon hesitation in favor of approaching a person with whom you feel a genuine connection can grow, it may be better in the long run. Instead of pining away silently, you’ll know right away whether the person (stranger, past significant other or friend) is interested.

That’s not to say flat-out rejection is ruled out completely as an outcome. Even so, it’s still better to try, right? Your odds of being accepted or rejected are equal. At least with rejection, nobody can ever say “You didn’t try.”

Then again, who am I to tell you this anyway? I feel hypocritical, in the sense that I couldn’t follow my own advice when put into that situation. I’m still screaming on the inside, but for the brave few out there willing to take a chance, go for it.

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