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HalfFull

Smiling at strangers

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Sanctuary

Scarcely ever do I have any interaction with strangers of the kinds mentioned above. Even in shops where I am a habitual customer the encounter is a very brief business-like affair with rarely the more social element I see with some regulars. It is possible there are differences in people's faces and demeanours which encourage or discourage "stranger interaction". Smiling / not smiling may play a part but there are many other factors. It's probably difficult to identify what these differences are and they're not necessarily the same as exuding "friendliness / unfriendliness". Perhaps it is an intensity that some people project (often unwittingly) or an air which suggests "not open for interaction" or "strictly business".

Edited by Sanctuary

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Gone away

I don't smile much so its a major effort to smile at passers by ... I have tried it as its the logical thing to do,  but it doesn't feel right.  I tend to read too deeply into interactions and get it wrong quite a bit ... so I don't seek meaningful relationships anymore as nobody seems to want anything greater than extremely superficial interaction ... which is not comfortable for any prolonged period as I will progress the conversation too rapidly and then they feel uncomfortable.
Sometimes I will raise eyebrows or attempt a nod if eye contact is made with passers by ... at least thats what I think I'm doing ... no idea what it looks like.
Having said that ... most things are  paradoxical with me ... terms and conditions  subject to change etc.

Edited by Gone home

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HalfFull

Its very rare that strangers stop to talk to me. I think its because I avoid eye contact so much, and if I'm on a table seat on a train, I'll look out of the window rather than directly in the direction of the person sat opposite. In fact if someone pleasant enough started up a conversation on a train I'd be happy to chat with them, and sometimes I can even be chatty, but I never initiate and would also have the fear that if I did, and they weren't my cup of tea or I didn't want to chat the whole journey, that I'd be trapped in a conversation that I don't want to have.

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Sanctuary

One exception I'd mention - and I imagine this is common for many of us - is smiling, thanking or acknowledging strangers who behave in a considerate, helpful or friendly way such as by making space for you to pass on a narrow path or holding a door open. I hope for the same thing if I do the same for others. Sometimes out walking a stranger will say hello or make a brief comment (often about the weather) and it's polite to say hello or reply in turn. It's almost always older people who offer this sort of greeting.

10 hours ago, HalfFull said:

Its very rare that strangers stop to talk to me. I think its because I avoid eye contact so much, and if I'm on a table seat on a train, I'll look out of the window rather than directly in the direction of the person sat opposite. In fact if someone pleasant enough started up a conversation on a train I'd be happy to chat with them, and sometimes I can even be chatty, but I never initiate and would also have the fear that if I did, and they weren't my cup of tea or I didn't want to chat the whole journey, that I'd be trapped in a conversation that I don't want to have.

My experience is similar. I don't initiate an interaction but will respond if the other person initiates one and often these exchanges can be quite pleasant. I'm reluctant to start an interaction myself as I'm not sure if the other person wants to do so. Even if they're not doing anything at the time they may be wrapped in their thoughts or just want time by themselves. This links to recent discussion on empathy. There can be an easy assumption that someone who refrains from interaction is "not a people person" or is even anti-social when in fact they are respecting other people's space. 

It's also worth noting that sometimes interaction (including between people who know each other) can be the product of nervousness and unease. One or both of those present feel they need to fill the supposed gap between them with words but this chatter may just irritate the other or create extra tension. Often it's a sign that you're really comfortable with someone - especially someone close to you - that you can be in each other's company and content to be silent.

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MrGrey

I can't smile on purpose.  It comes out weird and creepy.

6hmgee.jpg

Edited by MrGrey

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