Make Eye Contact

clip_image002_thumbFear of people is a modern vehicle for many things, like product sales, communal loyalty, organizational compliance and patriotism, which is why we are surrounded by alarming messages about the people around us and the people in other places. Unfortunately, once we become afraid of people, we can no longer tell them apart, because we cannot see them through our defenses.

I walk around our neighborhood in the mornings and see different people. What surprises me often is how they respond when they notice me approaching. I am not too tall and quite thin, I wear normal clothes and a hat and there is nothing in my appearance that should cause anyone alarm. See for yourself on the left (not the best picture of me, but you get the idea).

Yet, some people cross to the other side of the street. They literally pick a spot well beyond contact distance and pretend they cannot see me. Other people, who might have to cross back to “my” side later to keep going, look down as they walk past me or give me a nervous forced smile, while picking up their pace.

I do not take it personally, but it makes me sad.

Now, I used to suffer from fear of people myself. Maybe this is why I interpret others’ behavior this way, but hopefully my suggestions today will be helpful either way.

Read more about how to engage people

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