The Art of Freezing Someone Out When You See Them


Two years ago, I went to see a friend in a play and congratulated him in the lobby afterwards.

Also hanging around there was a Tony nominated actor who I’ve known for years and who had always been super friendly.

But as he talked to my friend, the actor refused to catch my eye and wouldn’t even acknowledge my existence as I kept desperately trying to say hello.

He totally froze me out!

Had he lost his peripheral vision?

No, wait a second. There was that one negative writeup I’d done.

But was he really going to hold one little critique I’d written against me?

After all, it’s my job to write the truth, not curry favor with these people.

Besides, I’d always written lovely things about him–except for that one sentence!

Couldn’t he just just be civil?

Nah, there’s something about actors’ Alzheimers–they forget everything except a grudge.

And I must say being ignored so intently really worked–I felt like crap.

But when you can’t figure what’s behind it, a freezeout is even more mystifying.

I learned this at a Lincoln Center event where I spotted a famed British author who’d always been perfectly delightful to me.

In fact, she’d praised me in the press and once asked me to host a bookstore Q&A with her, which I gamely did and enjoyed.

But this time, she was talking to someone and kept averting her eyes so she wouldn’t have to greet me, and it was beyond bizarre because I couldn’t even guess what the motivation was!

She was expending way more energy on avoiding me than it would have taken to just say “Hi, Michael” and move on.

The killer is, I was with someone who would have been beside themselves to meet this icon.

But no matter how many times I circled around, trying to get her attention for a quick hello, she gave me the freeze!

I was hurt and baffled and walked away thinking, “What kind of horror would dis someone so rudely?”

And then I realized, “Wait a minute, I’ve done it.”