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Eeep. - helen-louise

Help! What's the etiquette for meeting someone at a professional event that you last saw when you were running a workshop about polyamory together? Especially if you didn't previously know you were in the same professional field?

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From: pir Date: 3rd July 2013 13:06 (UTC) (Link)
Why would it be any different from meeting any other person who you met elsewhere and then see at a professional event?
From: artremis Date: 3rd July 2013 15:13 (UTC) (Link)

i can imagine how meeting a work colleague at a Poly (or Bi or Kink etc event) might be a bit complicated because of potential issues around outness and social prejudice but unless there are lots of people who are closeted about being chemists/academics i can't quite see the problem. Prolly best not to being up Poly in public unless you are sure the other person is comfortable with that but otherwise just say "Hi" and maybe "o i didn't know this was your area - it's nice to see you again"
From: pir Date: 3rd July 2013 15:31 (UTC) (Link)
I've met people in a work environment after bumping into them at the Boston Fetish Fair Fleamarket. The only slightly awkward part was when their boss asked what event we had just mentioned seeing each other at... I went with "a trade show" and didn't specify the trade since I didn't know how out they were at work.
baratron From: baratron Date: 3rd July 2013 20:42 (UTC) (Link)
The unexpectedness of it. If you live in a major city & work in IT, you can expect that a large number of your cow-orkers will be Weird in some way: queer, poly, kinky, trans, Pagan or militantly Atheist, into bikes, etc. So running into workmates at an "alternative" event, or running into people you know from an "alternative" event at work are both relatively common events.

If you're at a private event for members of your institution, it's unusual to run into someone who you know from a different context because you'd have been far more likely to run into them at the institution first. I seriously have no context for running into bi/poly people at uni because I only know one other person who does even vaguely similar work to me.

Anyway, it turns out that she has no personal connection with my institution and it's simply that she knows someone who works there, who invited her because her job is interesting. And we had a nice chat with euphemisms.
From: pir Date: 3rd July 2013 20:46 (UTC) (Link)
I don't see a reason that the frequency or likelyhood changes the etiquette being exactly the same as meeting anyone else in a professional context. You're still just meeting someone in a professional context.

Glad you had a nice chat.
baratron From: baratron Date: 4th July 2013 13:38 (UTC) (Link)
It differs because of the mutual moment of "What the hell are YOU doing HERE?". If you're used to people from one of your worlds turning up in one of your other worlds, or if the worlds are closely linked (e.g. poly & bi, or scientists & science fiction), that's much less an issue. As I said, it was a private conference billed as a "retreat" for members of my institution, so it was very weird to run into someone I knew from elsewhere.

The point I wanted advice on was how to negotiate the "What the hell are you doing here?" step.
From: pir Date: 4th July 2013 13:41 (UTC) (Link)
and my advice was to treat it as a non-thing, negotiate it by behaving as if it's perfectly normal.
baratron From: baratron Date: 4th July 2013 13:58 (UTC) (Link)
Either we're talking entirely at cross-purposes or we're using different words for the same basic idea, because it *wasn't* normal. "Normal" to me means mundane, ordinary, something you expect to happen all the time. This was one of those amazing coincidences that was exactly what I needed considering I was exhausted, over-peopled & close to tears. It was awesome to see someone who I could be 100% me with rather than always having to filter myself.
From: pir Date: 4th July 2013 14:36 (UTC) (Link)
I didn't say it was normal. I said treat it as normal.

The easiest way to keep someone at ease who may be a little uncomfortable in a situation is to just act normal. Normal for you, not mundane normal. If you're acting comfortable and everyday it's simpler for other people to relax and be as out as they want to be.

Sure it's a great thing to see people like that but I really don't see the difference in how you behave with emphasis on in that professional environment. You're meeting someone in a professional environment, that's the context, not the fact of where you happened to see them last. You behave as you normally would for a professional environment.

You can argue this is because I'm used to it and sure it's happened to me a few times (though not as much as you seem to think) but it happened to me the first time at some point and almost never happens these days... I had to deal with it as a rare thing at first too.
baratron From: baratron Date: 4th July 2013 15:19 (UTC) (Link)
And that's just it. My "normal" for a professional environment is terrified, over-awed, feeling like the stupidest person in the room, barely able to say anything to anyone. When I find a friendly student I babble like an idiot, and when I find a friendly academic I congratulate myself if I'm able to ask a coherent question. People who know me would be amazed that I have what is becoming severe social phobia in certain situations because I'm very extroverted and bubbly around my friends. I'm discovering that being shy to the point where you can scarcely manage words is a particularly serious disability when your supervisor is the exact same way and can't introduce you to friendly people who'll help you find a topic of conversation.

Yes, I'm aware that I need to Talk to Someone About This. I'm sure my Disability Mentor tomorrow won't know what's hit her.
polyfrog From: polyfrog Date: 3rd July 2013 13:39 (UTC) (Link)
"Hello, it's good to see you again!"
From: jinian Date: 3rd July 2013 16:24 (UTC) (Link)
"Hi, I think we've met once before, how are you?" and straight on to talking about their work.
baratron From: baratron Date: 4th July 2013 13:59 (UTC) (Link)
Heh, while I admire your restraint, this was very strong mutual recognition & confusion. Almost "What the hell are YOU doing HERE?!". Fortunately we were both prepared because of seeing the other's name on the list of attenders & wondering "Can that *really* be...?", but even then it was a shock.

Also fortunately I got moved into a different group for the "Professional Speed Dating" activity so we ran into each other at dinner instead of there!
clawfoot From: clawfoot Date: 3rd July 2013 16:33 (UTC) (Link)
I'd acknowledge that we met, but refrain from mentioning where, in case they don't want to be that open about their involvement in the poly community.
baratron From: baratron Date: 4th July 2013 14:01 (UTC) (Link)
Yes we spoke in euphemisms, such as "Am I going to be seeing you in Edinburgh in a couple of weeks?" (Meaning "Are you going to BiCon", but neither potentially outing nor exclusionary for anyone else who happened to be listening).
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