A woman says she "wanted the earth to swallow me whole" after making a mortifying blunder just 30 seconds into a huge job interview.
Despite the on-going Covid situation, the interview in the Netherlands took place in person with the CEO of the company, and the woman said she was feeling "super nervous", heightened by the fact she really wanted the job and saw it as an exciting opportunity.
She said she had tried to remain calm, but could "literally feel my heartbeat in my throat" by the time the man interviewing her started walking down the stairs to greet her.
But when he stopped halfway down the stairs, she assumed the interview would take place upstairs and got up to meet him, at which point he bent one of his arms at the elbow and extended it towards her.
In a moment of panic and confusion, she took the gesture to say 'please take my arm, milady, so I can escort you to the room as if we're strolling down the promenade together' and without thinking "eagerly locked arms with this strange man".
She said: "And then we just stood there! Arm in arm, halfway up the stairs, sheepishly staring at each other. I wanted the earth to swallow me whole.
"I just didn’t know what to do next and I don’t think he’d fully understood what’d happened, so neither of us moved.
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"When he’d finally gathered his senses, he said 'I er.. meant to give you an elbow-bump?', after which I quickly put as much distance between us as I could and mumbled 'Right! Right, yes, that makes much more sense'. Because it did, let's face it.
"And then we had the interview."
The woman added that she was left "unable to sleep" the night after she had mistaken the CEO's Covid-safe handshake as an invitation to walk arm-in-arm "as if we were best friends forever" - and left people in hysterics after sharing the story on Reddit.
She responded to questions to say the interview had taken place earlier this week, and felt like it had gone well when they both moved on from the awkwardness.
She hasn't yet found out if she got the role, but admits she is "not hopeful" after the incident.
People were quick to offer reassurance, as one said: "On the bright side this has me absolutely cracking up and the visual is great. If nothing else you definitely made an impression and can’t say he won’t remember you! Also this is totally something I would do. I hope you get the job and the two of you can look back and laugh someday!"
And another said it was an easy mistake to make, writing: "This happened to me and I just shook his elbow with both hands... The worst part was it took place in an elevator and then we had 10 gruelling floors of silence. Yes, full fledge up and down shake with his elbow... and it was on my first day of the job."