Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Eye Wars

On Monday, I was in Atlanta and today in DC, both days I practiced eye contact on everyone, men and women. What I noticed is that in Atlanta most people walk with their heads up looking forward and when eye contact is made, they either speak hello, good morning, etc ... or give you a nod. In DC, I noticed that most people walk with their heads down looking at the ground and when eye contact is made, the majority glance back down or away; those who did maintain eye contact said hello, good morning, etc ... or gave you a nod.

Another key observation was that in Atlanta, it seem automatic, like it was a part of everyday life to say hello, it was nothing personal. In DC, it seems like those who spoke or nodded took it personally like they were letting someone into their lives, in other words it was more heartfelt and genuine.

So why am I looking at people? Well, I'm trying to observe people behavior, body language, and interaction between strangers passing by each other. Also, it's an exercise to breakdown my AFC habits, being able to look someone in the eye without glance away or down.

No staring or glaring that's just plain weird, but direct eye to see person's reaction and to get out of my world (mind) when walking around.

Another observation was that holding someone's eye contact seems to invoke some secret password like it is ok to talk. While walking towards the check out line at CVS, the woman in front of me and I briefly had eye contact and we both said "hello" which lead to a conversation about altoids. While not a conversation that would lead to a grand romance, it was a fun conversation I would have missed out on, had I glanced away and it took away from the anxiousness of standing line waiting and an opportunity to practice my social skills.

Lessons Learned:
- Eye Contact (not staring or glaring) can open doors and lead to conversations.

- Always be prepared to escalate the conversation or lead the conversation with the opposite sex to where I want to go. (TOTALLY MISSED THIS ONE) I was too busy being nice to realize that speaking with the woman in front me at CVS was a perfect opportunity to lead the conversation to phone or email close.

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