Summer is the peak season for awkward greetings. It’s time for your college self to exchange handshakes, hugs, ass slaps, pounds and scissor kicks with all of life’s peripheral people. But how the hell do you handle the uneasy salutation sessions?

On the one hand, it pays to be gregarious and charismatic. On the other hand, if you were gregarious and charismatic you wouldn’t be going to UC Berkeley. Don’t worry, though. The Clog is here to help with every last lame interaction.

  1. Guy You Once Smoked Weed With In the High School Parking LotBest to go with the standard “stilted white guy side-five-and-fist-pound” routine. This time-honored suburban tactic may present some problems, though. What if the dude chooses not to pull away for the pound? What if he leaves your pound hanging? What if (God forbid!) you miss the pound? What then? Oh Lord, what then?

    Don’t worry. Just chuckle if something goes awry and spark a fake conversation about how “crazy” everyone was back in the day.

  2. Vacuous Acquaintance Friend-of-a-Friend GirlDon’t embrace her Abercrombie bedecked exterior unless she’s doing one of those conveyor belt hug things with your friend group. She’s forced the issue at that point. But what, if after hugging your whole crew, she actually snubs you (would that be a “snug”?)? Um, in that case, we don’t know what to tell ya. The bleak reality of your self-esteem getting kicked in the nuts is too much for mere advice to heal.

    Just be warned that if you get snugged three times over the course of your home visit, God may give your virginity back retroactively. And a kitten dies every time that happens.

  3. The Stench UncleAs “Arrested Development” has exhaustively taught us, flesh and blood is an important thing. Unfortunately, at scorching family barbeques, that combo can sometimes smell like shit. Take this scenario:

    Your sweaty, drunken Uncle Compost is waddling up to you. He’s got that look in his eye. It says, “Let’s talk about your prospective career choices while I interrupt you at point blank range!” But before Captain Avskunkular subjects you to that, he must push his stinky man-musk deep within your pores. He won’t be satisfied until the squeeze of the hug allows his smelliness to lay eggs in your soul. What we’re saying in a roundabout way is, pre-empt the man with a firm handshake. And wash that hand.

  4. Ex-Prof Who Can’t Remember Your NameWait, this is an issue at our institution? You should be so lucky to be remembered enough to get name-forgotten.

    Anyway, a firm handshake should suffice in this case as well. The ultra firmness of the shake should convey the following: “Thanks in part to your superb guidance, I have evolved into a better gripper.” Then laugh and say something about how you were so “crazy” back in the day. And casually mention that you learned more from the Happy Happy Man.

  5. King Midas of PessinusThanks to Dionysus’s liberal wish granting, greeting Midas has become a bigger pain in the ass than ceaselessly schlepping a boulder through a minitar’s colon. You learned from the time your drunken buddy tried to hook up with Medusa: Things that can turn you into solid objects should be avoided at all costs.

    But still, Midas means well and it isn’t right to offend him. Just a week back, he graciously offered you the chance to housesit the palace during the month of Mamakterion.

    So what to do if the king of bling is a bit tipsy and tries to give you a Hellenistic Handjive? You’re well advised to throw the Vacuous Acquaintance Friend-of-a-Friend Girl at him and claim that she’s a sacrificial offering of thanks. Or you can pretend to be on your cell phone and just ignore him.

    (Honorable Mentions on The Archetypal Awkward Summer Greeting List: Evil Twin, Father Who Didn’t Hug You Enough, Naked Grandmother, Fashionista, Old Creepy Middle School Gym Teacher, Jehovah’s Witness, Jay-Z, rodent, abstract concept, Allison Stokke)