"Look Them In the Eye And Smile"

For me, it started sometime in the mid 90s. A woman had been abducted from Parmatown Mall, raped and brutalized then murdered. Our local Karate studio.. the one right next door to my gym.. offered an all-day Saturday class for women of self-defense.

The biggest tip I learned: when you are walking anywhere, look each person you pass or see in the eye and smile. It’s a way to remember their faces, and it can discourage a small-time thug from choosing you as a victim.

I’ve made this tip part of myself. When I am out and about, I look people in the eye and smile. Last year I wrote “The Culture of the Path” on my other blog. Again, it demonstrated the importance to a society of looking each person in the eye and smiling. How else can you know that you’ve passed the fellow walker before and therefore must change your greeting?

These past three weeks I’ve spent time in a nursing home and time in assisted living. Many folks, to stave off boredom and loneliness, sit out in the hallways or in the lobby. Their affect is quite passive. So I again made it a point to look each one in the eye and smile as I passed them by. And like the culture of the path, I said “good morning/afternoon” to each.

Suddenly folks would sit up a little straighter; their was life in their eyes and looked once again like members of the human society. At the MILs hotel, they are beginning to recognize me; we have small interactions when I pass through.

So my suggestion for everyone along whatever path you find yourself travelling: make eye contact and smile.

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5 responses to “"Look Them In the Eye And Smile"

  1. Also when walking, look purposeful (like you have an objective) with your head up and hands free. No crap in your hands, meaning no purse/bags/toys/or other stuff unless it’s your keys coz they are good weapons (especially large car keys, they are like mini daggers, fan them in between each knuckle – improvised brass knuckles – I do this when I have to walk alone somewhere).

    I pass a nursing home in my car where some of the more mobile people sit out on a nice day. I always wave to them. They like that alot and I like the way their faces light up when they wave back, surprised someone acknowledged them.

  2. paula, the_quilter

    Deb, what a lovely post. Thank you. /paula

  3. I’ve missed reading you. I was in Ohio with my 84 year old Dad and his collections of paper, plastic and cardboard–oh, and empty jars and bottles. got rid of it all.

    I always look into people’s eyes and smile–guess what? they think they know me–or I know them. So now I say hi to most of the town.

    that Sam–my daughter –is very tough. Can take a big guy down before he knows what hit him.

  4. Enthusiasm is as contagious as smiling. When you meet someone, make the most of it : conversationaid.com

  5. I enjoyed this post and completely agree with you regarding looking a thug in the eye. It can convey confidence (and hopefully not challenge) and definitely not conveying being a victim. Some people think that I’m a bit weird when I look them in the eye, but there we go. Can’t please everyone..
    Thank you for your post.
    Elspeth M

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