This awkwardizer is clearly trying the play-it-cool method and failing miserably:
I really think the iChat application needs to have a more extensive screening process before allowing two people to be instantly connected through video chat. When you want to IM someone not only do you have to double click their name, but also you must type something and click enter. Needless to say, it would be very difficult to accidentally IM someone. However with video chat, all you need to do is click on the little green button and an invitation to video chat them is instantly sent. This has happened to me several times (and I’ve had some close calls as well) with people that have no business being on my buddy list (I’m sketchy) and I haven’t spoken to in months or even years, and have no interest in speaking with. Even if I wanted to speak with them, I would certainly not want our first interaction after a yearlong absence to be a “catch-up” on the video chat.
So there are three lines of action one can take after such an awkward accident. The first and most obvious is to cancel your video chat invitation before they accept, thus not having to ever see their face or speak to them (Rule #1 is things are almost always more awkward in person). This does present a few problems though. You have to follow that up with an apology IM saying something to the extent of “hey sorry about that… accidentally clicked the video chat button hahaha” (the hahaha is an attempt to brush it off as a funny situation you both recognize and act as if you’re both laughing at the slight awkwardness.) The awkwardness of this moment will vary in direct proportion to how little you know the person and how long it’s been since you’ve seen them. If you haven’t seem them in, say a year, it’s rude to just say that without a little game of catchup, so you naturally have to ask how everything’s been going and have a 5 minute long conversation (over IM at least) that you both know is phony and never would have happened if it weren’t for your reckless mouse-clicking.
If it's someone you see fairly often but rarely exchange more than 2 words with, the conversation will be an in-your-face reminder of how capable you are of hanging out but how you never do simply because you both don't particularly care for one another. This will be like an 800 pound gorilla in the room that will inhibit the conversation from being remotely interesting or not awkward (hopefully he/she won't try to pull the whole phony "hey we never hang out! we should chill sometime soon...." Better that they do that on your Facebook wall so that it can be brushed off in the chaotic public sphere)
The second and third options (which I tend to think are more manly and respectable) are to bite the bullet and wait till the video chat. Then you can (second option) explain that it was a mistake, make a joke, have a laugh, briefly catch up, and say goodbye. The third option (which is by far the ballsiest) is to wait until the video chat starts and act as if this was your plan all along. This will only work for you supercool, calm, good liars out there that love to play off situations that everyone knows are awkward as if they’re no big deal. This option is not for the faint of heart. Either way I think we can all agree it’s pretty awkward when this kind of stuff happens.
Recently I meat-headedly deleted my buddy list. Starting from scratch and recreating, however much of a grind, was actually a great idea because I then realized how unnecessary it is to have those random people from camp or those people that I just never talk to. I think the moral of the story is you shouldn’t have someone on your buddy list unless you’re comfortable talking to them in person or at least down for a spontaneous video chat.
Post Script: I find this slightly similar to an accidental clicking of the “like” button on Facebook. If you’re looking, say, through a random girl’s pictures that your friend’s with (but haven’t much business being friends with besides the fact that you met once) and your mouse accidentally clicks the “like” button, how are you supposed to recover from that? Do you comment on the picture (which is probably a bikini picture, postulating from Murphy’s law) with something like “whoops didn’t mean to do that!” or will that just dig you deeper in your whole of sketchiness? The fact of the matter is, there is no way to avoid the awkwardness of the obvious fact that you were creeping through this girl’s pictures and now everyone knows it. I guess a similar moral as the video chat situation is to be drawn: don’t be friends with a girl (especially one with awesome bikini pictures) unless you are boys enough to creepily “like” her picture.
Post Post Script: I recently discovered (through some trial and error with a friend) that you can “unlike” something which will erase any history of you having ever “liked” it in the first place. This just goes to show that (based on all the close calls I’ve had where I’ve almost clicked the “like” button and felt my stomach turn) awkwardness, or fear of awkwardness, can be entirely in your head. Touché, Clay. Awkward.
PPPS: I hate the whole “like” feature on Facebook. What’s the point of it again?