Ignoring, acknowledging, and talking have always been separate entities that can occur to varying degrees to me, but I know my situation isn't like yours or your group's. I can't fully understand that sort of addiction. All I can offer is an ear and some sharp eyes. And some strongish arms to move chairs.
Oh, the no wait time at restaurants. That is such a great perk. Especially in NYC. Even with all the other baggage that goes with it, there is something satisfying about staff doing everything they can to open up a table for your friends. Even if you know everyone else is glaring at you and you feel a bit bad, there is still that nice big of satisfaction.