Strangers and Self-Esteem
(by OOC via Men's Health)
Oh, great. As if our friends, family, colleagues and culture couldn't hate on our happy all by themselves – now we find that strangers can lower our self-esteem just by not looking at us. I mean, we're strangers…aren't we supposed to not look at each other (Can you tell I grew up in NYC?)
According to the original article, researchers found that "failing to draw eye contact can trigger feelings of social isolation and low self-esteem…curious to see how small social interactions, or lack thereof, could influence a person’s feelings of connectedness… the experimenters were instructed to walk past random students and make eye contact, smile, or purposely look through the student as if he didn’t exist. Immediately afterward, another experimenter asked the student how disconnected he felt on a scale of 1 to 5.
As it turns out, a cold eye may be more painful than a cold shoulder: The students that were made to feel invisible reported feeling 25 percent more disconnected from others."
Yowza, right? So do a stranger a favor and make eye-contact today. You'll feel better because you help them feel better – or at least 25% less disconnected. What do you thinkn – can a stranger make you feel better about you? What's the nicest thing a stranger's ever said to you? The strangest?