How to be Good Around People Whom You Badly Want to Impress

I would love to be my dorky self around Tom Hanks.

I would love to be my dorky self around Tom Hanks.

I’m not going to lie to you. This is tough.You are at some kind of gathering and your all-time hero walks in. You are probably not going to have another opportunity in your lifetime to shake their hand and tell them that they are cool. Who knows? Maybe they’ll even decide that you are just as cool as you think they are and they’ll want to spend all kinds of time with you doing best-friend-type things.

Or not.

Chances are good that you are going to say or do something awkward and regret it for the rest of forever.

So how do you avoid that?

Step One: Ask yourself if you really need to do this.

Do you really need to meet them in person? Are you willing to risk having your pleasant illusions shattered by the possible reality that the person with whom you are enamored is just another human (and possibly a jerk)?

Step Two: Consider for a moment the amount of crazy people your hero has to deal with all the time.

Seriously, if they are even semi-famous, they encounter weirdos at least 23 hours per day. You know the people that I’m talking about. They are the ones asking for autographs on body parts and who want to parent a child will your hero’s DNA. Don’t be that person.

Step Three: Introduce yourself.

This doesn’t need to be complicated. It can be something like this: “Hello. Are you [insert your hero’s name here]? I’m [insert your name here] and I just wanted to say hi.”

Step Four: Don’t let on too much.

Yes, you probably know everything there is to know about this person. You’ve read their blog. Heck, maybe you even wrote the Wikipedia page for them. But it is super creepy when you casually talk about the intimate routines of someone else’s life whom you are just now meeting in person for the first time. They don’t know you at all, so don’t act like you know them too well. Avoiding this rule is your best bet to getting their autograph on a restraining order against you.

If you have a question for them, screen yourself to make sure that your question wouldn’t sound strange coming out of a stranger’s mouth to you. “Are you enjoying our city?” is acceptable. “Where are you sleeping tonight?” is not.

Step Five: Say thank you.

It’s probable that this person makes more money per minute than you do per week, and you’ve just taken up some of their valuable time. Say thank you to them.

Step Six: Walk away.

Don’t overstay your welcome. Brevity is the key to success. Leave on a high note before any of your craziness leaks out.

And that’s it. Follow these steps and you will probably have a good memory about your time meeting your hero. Unless your hero is a jerk, and then you should probably pick a different hero anyway.

Good luck!

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3 responses to “How to be Good Around People Whom You Badly Want to Impress

  1. Fortunately this hasn’t come up yet, but just seeing Mark Billingham on Pointless the other day turned me into a nervous wreck.
    And taking the kids to see Mr Bloom (Ben Faulks) at the park last year had me in hysterics.
    Oh and meeting Bo Burnham last November made me buzz for three months.

    Hmm… okay… it has come up. Fortunately I didn’t get to talk to Ben and Bo was doing a book signing after his show, so pretty much everyone was drooling over how awesome he is. I can say I wasn’t the only one so I probably didn’t stick out. Except for kinda sort spitting tea on his t-shirt. *head desk*

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