I grew up in Japan. It’s so crowded there, I guess the only way to cope is to pretend nobody else is around. So even when Japanese people are talking to each other, they don’t make prolonged eye contact. Result: I don’t look at you when you’re talking to me, and I don’t smile at you in public unless you smile at me first.
Because I’m not Japanese, I’ve always been an outsider. Apparently, if I was American at heart, this wouldn’t matter, but I have a Japanese heart, and I care very much. But I also don’t like to make people look bad, or to make them feel like they look bad. I subconsciously have this idea that people are ashamed to admit they know me in front of other people. This is why I don’t call out my friends if they’re in large groups. But if you smile at me first (in other words, acknowledge me in front of the others), then I know you don’t care, and I smile back.
I mention this because when I was visiting Japan, my friends were encouraging me to make more effort to be sociable. I’m not an unfriendly person, but I’m too lazy to be sociable on my own. Or too scared. Think what you will. I cooperate decently in a conversation, but I have yet to learn how to comfortably initiate conversations with people I don’t know well. Today I went to Chick-fil-A with my roommate to have our Last Supper, and I saw some people that I met right after I moved here. And I was like, “Oh, I know those people. They look busy. I won’t bother them.” When the dad walked by later, we totally made eye contact, but he got this look like, “Why is this girl staring at me?” So either I look really different, or I should have been the one to smile first.
Guts! Gah. Me and my lack thereof.
Side note: I bought some motivational clothes today. Super excited to be able to wear them. Rue 21 will be the death of my wallet. Adding it to the list along with Hobby Lobby and Claire’s.