The Art of Freezing Someone Out When You See Them

Categories: Advice

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."

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"Actors' Alzheimers" is epidemic, actually; a virus carried by performers with delusions of adequacy.


rsfurey, that's true, but getting a simple hello from someone who always says hello isn't really extortion. It's just expecting common courtesy.


@mikeymusto I love that line "Nah, there's something about actors' Alzheimers--they forget everything except a grudge." #itssofuckintrue


The "freeze-out" works both ways do it because (a) the "outside" person is going to talk about "that same subject" ad infinitum and you just need to talk to the person you're engaged with. and you don't know how you'll act/react to that "outside" person in this setting aka

"Lord Give Me Strength" mode...As in, yes, we kiki-ed in the club, but here I'm talking to my boss... important person in my career, whatever, that i can't bring you up to speed on in 10 seconds...gracious folk will explain that later.

or (b) "She" ...that's the gay 'she'...thinks I'm still mad/should be mad... about something that happened in 1992....I rejoice in that kind of freeze out!  You saved me the trouble honey!

Most times, the "reason" is trivial...I mean really, if you're a pro actor, you're used to rejection. My suspicion is "actor" was in his mind further up  the food chain than you acknowledged/gratified/solidified.


I'm surprised an actor (and also an author) would be so dumb as to be rude to a writer. Very weird and self-defeating. The actor, especially. Mightn't his nasty behavior lead to MORE bad reviews?


We've all done it. But you're right, when you don't know what's behind it, it's genuinely creepy.


He did say it was his job to write the truth and not curry favor, so I'm sure he doesn't want to extort it either. @ladybug9