How to: Recognize People With Masks On

By Ryan N. Gajarawala

You’re on campus now, eager to meet new people and kick off a great year. You run into people in the d-hall line, in your house courtyard, and in the hallway. But you’re bad enough with names already, how are you supposed to remember faces when they’re half-covered? Well, we’ve got you covered with the best tips to recognize people with their masks on while you’re strolling through campus.

Stare Longingly into Their Eyes

People have always said that eyes are the window to the soul, so it’s time to put that saying to use. This would also be a great exercise to maintain eye contact with the person you’re talking to, engaging in an active, socially-distant conversation with them. Study their eyes, stare longingly at them — but not for too long or they might get weirded out. If you want to maintain the six-feet distance, maybe you could look into investing in binoculars?

Eyebrows Are Your New Best Friend

Keeping with the eye theme, let’s talk about eyebrows. They’re a pretty distinctive feature of the face, expressive and perhaps great for recognizing faces. Color, shape, style — get to know your peers through their signature eyebrow look. Hey, maybe you can hit them up for a brow tutorial for your own eyebrows so that you can make a more put together look when you roll out of bed two minutes before your Zoom lecture. Can you use the Zoom eyebrows feature? Let us know if you figure that one out.

Vibe Check

Are the brain waves immaculate with this one? This is perhaps the most socially distant way to recognize someone through a mask. Pick out something weird (I do the T-man pose) that you and your friend will recognize. If they reciprocate the action, they have passed the vibe check. Just make sure you both know what to do so that you don’t accidentally vibe check a random tourist in the Harvard Yard who just wanted you to take a picture of them by the statue.

Shoot Your Shot, Make A New Friend

At the end of the day, it wouldn’t hurt to just shoot your shot and approach the person, even if you’re not sure who they are. If they are the person you’re looking for, great! If not, you just met someone new on campus. You can laugh off the approach and then introduce yourself (maybe not the Harvard introduction though, we’ve all heard that one too many times). If it gets too awkward, that’s when you can use your own mask to hide.

It’s not the easiest time to make friends right now, but we’re all going to get through it together. Hopefully soon, we won’t need to wear masks and we’ll be able to fully see each other’s faces — until then, enjoy these tips!

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