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Smile At Strangers

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whahappen Can't wait for Spring, Summer & Fall :) Boo for Winter.

smile at strangers
Smile at strangers AND Look people in the eye... I don't know about this.

Okay, if I were to combine these goals, I might explode with anxiety. It’s too much. I happily smile at strangers everywhere, but it’s more like a quick smile/look away. I’m waaay too shy to smile and hold the eye contact. It seems kinda creepy even.

Besides, I have a question: If you’re walking towards a stranger, what’s the appropriate distance closing in on each other do you break into a smile? If you start smiling too soon, like 15 feet away, they might think you know each other.

If you wait to smile at that person when you’re right up in their grill, they might not even be looking at you by then. They’ll probably be looking into their cell phone instead.

Anyhoo, I definitely would have to work on looking people in the eye as I smile at them, instead of the usual flash-a-smile-and-pretend-I-don’t-care-if-they-don’t-smile-back (but secretly I’m crushed if they don’t).

Secretly Shy Smiler


sue820 Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch...GBShaw

I got back into this habit at work and carry it over.

The secret is not to look them in the eye too long. Ten feet away or closer is a good distance to aim for and then make the looking in the eye part no longer than 3 Mississippi seconds. If they smile back, look you in the eye, and you are walking past each other, you can even say hi softly, but don’t slow down, or it might look like you’re coming on to them. This was weird trying to boil down how I do this, but I’m a naturally outgoing person. It does brighten both your day and someone else’s.

whahappen Can't wait for Spring, Summer & Fall :) Boo for Winter.

1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi....

Great tip. Yes, you’re right. Timing the look-away part after smiling is the key.

Knowing what a dork I am, I’d probably mouth the Mississippi seconds and the person would think I was muttering something to them.

It would go like this:

Stranger: Huh? Did you say something?

Me: No – nothing. Pardon me, I have to look away now.

joie de vivre I'm back now

Another way to do it

Look at the “third eye” between their eyes and just a bit above, on their forehead. They’ll feel like you’re looking into their eyes, but you really aren’t.

(This is a trick I’ve taught to people on the spectrum – it really works!)

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