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Strangers and Self-Esteem

6 comments | February 10th, 2012

(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?

 

 

6 comments

  • Anonymous

    Posted on February 10, 2012

    I have always HATED making eye contact. Ugh. Now I feel guilty about it.

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  • Ivy

    Posted on February 10, 2012

    Guess this makes sense. I mean if you think about it, we all want to be seen and heard and listened to. Eye contact is a big part of being seen.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted on February 10, 2012

    There are some cultures/traditions where when you’re drinking a toast, it’s actually seriously rude not to look the person you’re clinking glasses with straight in the eye and acknowledge them that way.

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  • Momof2

    Posted on February 11, 2012

    This may not be the nicest thing a stranger has ever said to me, but… I was on the Metro with my kids and a man came up to me and said, “I’ve been watching you. I figure you answer close to 200 questions a day! That’s amazing! I wish my mother had been more like you.”
    It was so sweet. Made my day. I probably answered 225 questions that day. :)

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    • Eva@OOC

      Posted on February 11, 2012

      Thanks for sharing, Momof2. So maybe we should all give compliments to strangers when we can instead of just making eye contact. That would probably love on people’s happy, huh?

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  • JL

    Posted on February 11, 2012

    One of the worst things a stranger ever said to me?
    I was 14 and he said, “Hey Baby, can I stick it in you just once?”
    I declined.

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