It’s your twenty-five year class reunion and you’ve shed over thirty pounds and dropped your geeky look. From across the room you recognize an old crush so you make your way over. You give her an eyebrow flash at a few paces and she flashes back but then draws her brow into a wrinkle. She’s shown that she recognizes you, through the eyebrow flash, but isn’t sure how, hence the flexing of the grief muscle between the eyes.

When the eyebrow flash is done outside of a class reunion, it can be even more confusing because a person has many more variables to consider when trying to place you. Chance meetings happen all the time, but the further they happen from a context in which we expect, the more difficult it is to place people. Sometimes we get stuck hanging because we eyebrow flash and the person doesn’t flash us back. But even then, and usually subconsciously, their mind will begin to fire and they will automatically try to place you. In the meantime we naturally feel embarrassed for not being recognized, even though we haven’t verbally acknowledged them. Trying to start a conversation with an ex-classmate who hasn’t returned an eyebrow flash can be risky and embarrassing producing an awkward conversation. The eyebrow flash, therefore, is an excellent tool to help us avoid even more pronounced embarrassment than necessary. Simply put, if you don’t get a flash back, don’t bother starting a conversation because they don’t remember you!