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This happens occasionally to me in New York. I will part ways with someone after chatting, and then it will turn out we're both walking in the same direction. What word captures this phenomenon?

closed as primarily opinion-based by tchrist, phenry, aedia λ, user66974, anongoodnurse Jun 30 '14 at 21:40

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  • Synchronisity? .... – mplungjan Jun 30 '14 at 15:17
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    Awkward? :) ... – crownedjitter Jun 30 '14 at 15:26
  • coincidence?... – ermanen Jun 30 '14 at 16:45
  • Post-adieu co-ambulation? – bib Jun 30 '14 at 17:12
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I'm almost certain there's no preexisting term for this --unless it was featured in some lost episode of Seinfeld.

Instead, I'll suggest a new coinage: False farewell.

This would cover any situation where the parties continue on together after a putative parting, such as the case where you tell everyone goodbye at a party and then end up staying several more hours.

EDIT: Google indicates this term is already in occasional use, especially with regards to musicians who give "farewell tours" and then don't actually retire.

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I don't think there's a word reserved for exactly this phenomenon. Maybe that's part of what makes it so funny (or awkward, depending on who the other person is); every human understands the phenomenon you're talking about, but nobody has a name for it.

This also reminds me of "the dance" you have to do when you try to pass somebody walking towards you and you both try to dodge in the same direction.

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