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... to smile and make eye contact with people

(73 Posts)
Bennifer Thu 01-Sep-11 12:15:19

I just wondered how other people feel about this. If I'm going along a fairly quiet street and I pass someone, I tend to smile and make eye contact (and maybe say Good Morning). Now, I don't do this walking down Oxford Street, but I grew up in the suburbs and just seemed something I was brought up to do.

I'm surprised at how many people don't do this. Is this normal? Is this some strange cultural thing that people have forgotten? AIBU to smile and make eye contact?

DoMeDon Thu 01-Sep-11 12:16:40

Yanbu - called being friendly - totally normal but a dying art

munstersmum Thu 01-Sep-11 12:21:07

Get thee to the sticks. It's compulsory to say make eye contact and say good morning.

cuteboots Thu 01-Sep-11 12:21:34

yanbu- I spoke to my neighbour last week as shes away alot so I havent seen her really since moving into my house. She lookd at me like id just landed in my spaceship and quickly went back into her house!?? I think domedon has hit the nail on the head.

Bennifer Thu 01-Sep-11 12:22:41


I already live in Exeter, a smallish city, so I'd expect more people to do it there

Bennifer Thu 01-Sep-11 12:23:01

sorry, that should have been munstermum

Toobluntforboss Thu 01-Sep-11 12:23:33

I do this too - everyone does this in N Ireland (where I'm from) and I like it when people do but sadly I sometimes get strange 'who are you/what are you doing?' looks! Still do it though!

Bennifer Thu 01-Sep-11 12:37:37

There must be a whole host of people who find smiling at people on the streets weird

PeanutGallery Thu 01-Sep-11 12:38:51



cardibach Thu 01-Sep-11 12:39:23

You're lucky if you get away with just a smile and 'Hello' round here! Can take ages to get anything done smile I like it.

chirpchirp Thu 01-Sep-11 12:41:24

YANBU, It's nice to be nice!

My random acts of kindness have also provoked very strange responses. No, I'm not hitting on you...No I'm not trying to rob you...IM JUST BEING FUCKING NICE. OK!

TrillianAstra Thu 01-Sep-11 12:43:09

Depends how creepy you are when you are doing it...

<grins manically and stares at people>

munstersmum Thu 01-Sep-11 12:47:15

From the top of my soapbox;
everyone should smile as a bare minimum
I also grant you permission to speak to each other on the tube

vickibee Thu 01-Sep-11 12:47:48

It is the norm where I Live.
However I did live near Farnborough for a few years and took the same train every morn with the same people and they would rather look at their feet or read the paper than speak. I found it very rude and am gald to be back in Yorkshire

RedOnion Thu 01-Sep-11 12:51:51

I always do it, it has become a habit now because I used to have to force myself to do it to get over crippling social anxiety.

Angel786 Thu 01-Sep-11 12:58:19

Next you'll want tomake eye contact with, or worse still chat to people on the tube (God forbid)! I pass the same people walking to work in London every day and started to smile and say hi to a security man who responded with a nod and "hello". Everyone-else just looks away. Awkward.

ZombiePlan Thu 01-Sep-11 13:02:56

YABU. It is IMO a bit weird to try to engage with people you've never met when you have no reason to do so (obv different if you need to e.g. say 'excuse me' or something like that). On the odd occasion some overly friendly person smiles/talks to me, I find it rather uncomfortable - I simply don't want to engage with random strangers, yet I feel that ignoring them would be rude.
<<another Londoner>>

Bennifer Thu 01-Sep-11 13:08:31

I've only ever lived in London for a very short period, so I didn't pick up the London point of view. It's mainly when I'm walking around my neighbourhood, down at the shops, etc, rather than going down the high street.

cardibach Thu 01-Sep-11 13:11:16

But ZombiePlan you do have a reason to engage with random people. It's called politeness and friendliness. It's for the good of the community. I really don't understand that 'I don't know you so I have no connection with you and will ignore you' attitude.

golemmings Thu 01-Sep-11 13:17:48

Having grown up in the midlands, I tried smiling at people when I moved to Reading. I gave up when I realised that making eye contact clearly made me a social pariah or, more likely, a 5'2 female child molester. It took me a couple of months to find a job back in a civilized part of the world and I try not to go back to the south if I can help it.

F1lthym1ndedvixen Thu 01-Sep-11 13:20:18

if you're having a bad day, some pleasant human contact, even on a tiny scale can really help.
You keep on smiling, chick!

Claw3 Thu 01-Sep-11 13:30:44

No one around here makes eye contact or smiles, these are signs of either being drunk or a serial killers round these parts.

The only time you are allowed to talk to someone is to ask the time, directions or if you are taller than person in supermarket, they can ask you to reach something for them, but only if they are elderly.

ZombiePlan Thu 01-Sep-11 13:48:20

Cardibach - I honestly don't think that not talking to random strangers makes you rude, or unfriendly. Perhaps it's just that it's more of a London thing - when there are so many poeple crammed into a small space, you really do need to kind of 'tune out' everyone else (esp in v crowded places like the tube).

Bennifer Thu 01-Sep-11 13:53:46

I would say, even in London, it would make sense to smile at someone as not every street is piccadilly circus. I'll stick at it I think, as a good 50% probably smile back

soundchic Thu 01-Sep-11 13:55:52

So different with children though. If my LO says hello to someone and doesn't get one back he will follow them repeating hello until he gets a response. I think its hilarious.

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