Smiling at strangers is normal in most US cities but in the North East it’s a rarity. How much, you ask? I thought I’d put this to the test for 30 days. Here are the reactions I received.
1. No Eye Contact
This first group of people was really interesting because they avoided reacting to me at all cost. I could tell by their body language that they could feel my gaze upon them but refused to look back at me no matter how long I stared. They probably thought I was crazy. Lol.
2. Awkward Smile
The next four groups of people did engage me in some way but again their reactions were all quite intriguing. This second group, when coming face to face with my smile gave me a smile but this smile was outfitted with a giant question mark on their face as saying: “Why are we smiling? Do I know you?” They were clearly uncomfortable and often even surprised by the interaction.
3. Look Away
Then, there were those who after seeing my smile emerge immediately looked away to avoid any form of connection. As though they had seen something they were not supposed to see or got caught behaving badly. This group made me chuckle a little.
4. I’m Just Going to Ignore You
This group of people was the most fascinating to me and annoying. Upon me looking them dead in the eyes and giving my most genuine smile, they were 100% unfazed. They simply ignored me. They had no reaction whatsoever. If they were looking in my direction, they continued to do so as though nothing had happened. Who does that?
5. Genuine Smile
My favorite group was of course those who, in response to my smile, gave me a smile as warm and sometimes one even more generous in return. This group of people is probably genuinely happy and content with their lives.
This experiment was part of a challenge I gave myself to do 3 unusual things for 30 days to celebrate my birthday! It was a wild ride and I learned a lot from it. Of course, this is only my personal opinion. I suggest you try it for yourself one day, if you don’t normally do this, and share your experience below.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION: Do you smile at strangers?