Where do you aim your eyes when you are with strangers?

Where do you look? - Picture of an eye.
Singapore
March 10, 2007 4:04am CST
Here's something that is pretty common and occurs regularly enough when you are out of the house. You may be on a bus or train, in the elevator, or simply waiting for a friend somewhere. Unless you are in a really rural area, you are gonna be around people. So the question is: where do you look? In Singapore, we have a few millions mortals packed on a tiny island. Yes, the government wants us to make more babies, but the thing is, we are already so crowded as it is. In public places, it's hard not to hit someone if you were to wave your hands around. I know it is not as bad as the situation in e.g. India but for me who grew up here, I think it is populated enough. :P I was on the train yesterday and I was standing less than a metre opposite another guy in the same train compartment. We are about the same height but we are certainly no friends. It's weird because I want to look straight (since turning my head either left or right would not be as comfortable) yet if I do that, it would seem as if I am staring at him. So I made a compromise - I looked straight 60% of the time while maintaining a "hazy"/"glassy" look. The rest of the time was split between the left and the right sides. What do you do when you are in a similar situation? Something similar or something more creative? Close your eyes and pretend to sleep? Read a book if you have one with you? Or do you go as far as to strike a conversation with a stranger? Do share your thoughts. ;-)
33 people like this
83 responses
@webeishere (36313)
• United States
10 Mar 07
Well I am the type that would strike up a conversation. Somethingin your situation like, Been a busy day! Then if I didn't strike up a chat I have a tendancy to look at strangers foreheads. Or their hairline which ever is higher up. LOL. This way I can't really see their eyes yet they think I'm looking at them. It's amazing how people think you're "staring" at them this way. I've actually had some people move or turn the head out of my line of sight due to me looking at their head. Too funny I think. If someone looks at me thats a stranger I just look & maybe nod or smile. HAPPY POSTINGS FROM GRANDPA BOB !!
5 people like this
• Singapore
10 Mar 07
Aw.. Grandpa Bob, there you go.. poking fun at other people again! *humph*
3 people like this
• Singapore
27 Mar 07
tsk tsk - You are in the running for best response!
.
1 person likes this
@ElicBxn (63187)
• United States
10 Mar 07
Honestly, if I shut my eyes, I probably WOULD doze off! While I don't live in a place like Singapore, I do understand your problem. I might look down, then my head can be forward, but my eyes not meeting his. If I had a book, I might be tempted to read it - depending on how bumpy the ride is. you dont' say how long the trip was & if there was anthing to look out the windowns - but you've probably seen it all hundreds of times. I can drive the same hundreds of times & see something new if I look (since I live in Texas & our public transportation in my city is lousy, driving is important & I live with someone who can't drive - silly rule about blind people driving...)
5 people like this
@ElicBxn (63187)
• United States
10 Mar 07
I might start a conversation - if just about the weather if nothing else seems to be working....
3 people like this
@kathy77 (7486)
• Australia
10 Mar 07
When I met strangers or anyone I always look them straight in their eyes that way I can tell if they are good people or not and gat to know what they are really up to. Also when I am around stranges and feel strange at first I will normally say something like oh boy it is a hot day or something like that and that normally breaks the ice and then it does not seem so strange and then I can look around me we are quite a freindly lot in my country.
5 people like this
@charms88 (7538)
• Philippines
10 Mar 07
I rarely rode in a public transportation now. But when face with a situation like yours, I will not look to the left nor to the right, just straight ahead. And I will try to make myself as stiffff as possible. When I notice a man looking, staring or worsssst giving me a flirtatious look, I will look at them straight with my BLAZING EYES. I'm a woman and I can't afford to have this "glassy or hazy" look.
@charms88 (7538)
• Philippines
10 Mar 07
Nooo...nooo...nooo...I'll make sure to prepare buckets of water for you. "grin"
2 people like this
• Singapore
10 Mar 07
If you don't flame me first, I won't need the water. :P
• Singapore
10 Mar 07
O....k. You won't set me on fire if I cuddle up to you right?
1 person likes this
@lonely_f16 (2146)
• Philippines
10 Mar 07
i don't usually look at people...like you i'll really look for ways just to not look at them because i've experienced that and it's like some people are too assuming...as if i'm really looking at them but it's just because I can't look anywhere else
4 people like this
• Singapore
10 Mar 07
And we don't want people to get the wrong idea.. :P
2 people like this
• Philippines
10 Mar 07
i usually bring a book while transporting, because when you are in a vehicle and it is crowded, you cannot avoid to look at each other, so i let myself be busy. I don't look at them.
4 people like this
@Sm00tH (2037)
• Belgium
10 Mar 07
i'm mostly on the bus with strangers so the thing i do then is swith between looking around in the bus itself and looking outside, you always discover something new on your route. in this country you can get in trouble realy easy if you look at someone for too long.
3 people like this
• Singapore
10 Mar 07
Exactly, I don't want to get beaten into a pulp too.
1 person likes this
@kgwat70 (13388)
• United States
6 May 07
I usually am not looking at people when I am out in public unless I see an attractive lady or someone bumps into me. I try not to look at people in the eyes as it could give them the wrong impression. I notice a lot of people when out in public do not look at others either. You would think people would not mind starting up a conversation with other people. I know personally I do not like to be looked or stared at.
• Philippines
6 May 07
it is true that if i look people, whom i do not know, straight in the eyes they tend to have a wrong impression. it is for this reason too, why i do my best to stray my eyes somewhere else other than taking a straight look at a stranger's face.
2 people like this
• Singapore
6 May 07
Quite the same. :)
2 people like this
@smacksman (6053)
10 Mar 07
Well i'm a country boy now even though I used to commute to London with the masses. In the countryside you talk to people. In the countryside you smile at people. So when I travel in public transport (rarely now), I first look them in the eye and smile and usually there is a shy smile back and then a look away. I wait for the eyes to come back again and I start talking. It really is the best way to pass the time on a journey and most people love to talk. I was sitting, waiting, in a London mainline station last year when a girl sat next to me and I smiled as usual. She then asked me, bold as brass, if I wanted to take her somewhere for a good time! I nearly fell off my seat! I said that it was awefully sweet of her to offer and that I was sure we could have a great time, but unfortunatly I was catching a train in 15 minutes so declined her offer. We sat chatting and laughed for a while before she left to find another customer. I must look like a country boy!
3 people like this
@smacksman (6053)
10 Mar 07
We don't seem to get so many wierdos in the countryside. Cities seem to be heavily populated with oddballs so maybe ordinary city dwellers have to be more cautious. I mean we just don't get thieving here, for instance. I never lock my car at night and often forget to lock my house at night. We never lock the house if we are going out for a few hours. I'm not too sure if I would do the same in a city or big town.
2 people like this
• Singapore
10 Mar 07
If only I was a country boy... :P I just find talking to strangers though... don't you? Or is everyone in the countryside supposed to be brothers and sisters?
2 people like this
• Singapore
27 Mar 07
tsk tsk - You are in the running for best response!
.
1 person likes this
@shilpaum (1752)
• India
10 Mar 07
Eye - Eye...aim your eyes when you are with strangers
I prefer to look in eyes, when I meet to any strangers. We can understand the person well like that.
@shalwani (760)
• Pakistan
10 Mar 07
This happened in my College bus that I had. The seats were facing eachother and so peopel also ended up facing eachother. I agree with you friend that it looks really awkward to look straight in the persons face all the time. Because all students were not my friend and how much can you talk in early morining and when returning tired from college. SO I decided to take a rosery in my hand and recite the holy rosery and pace my time with closed eyes or looking sideways on the road.
3 people like this
@smacksman (6053)
10 Mar 07
They might think you are praying to meet a nice boy! haha
2 people like this
@shalwani (760)
• Pakistan
10 Mar 07
** Pass my time** Other students thought that I was over acting or acting as a nun .. but i didnt care!!!
2 people like this
• Singapore
10 Mar 07
I remember similar incidents!! That's why I always try to have a book with me (though part of the reason is that I love reading and having nothing to do is boring). But if I can't have one with me... enters this discussion.
2 people like this
@mpshiva6 (65)
• India
10 Mar 07
I would prefer to look anywhere else if it is possible. If it is an elevator the best place to look at is either the elevator door as if waiting for it to open and you want to jump out, or at the mirror (usually found in most elevators). On the streets in India, we necessarily have to look at where we are stepping, so there is no possibility of looking at somebody. If you are forced to look at a person, I feel the best thing to do is give him / her a smile and then look down, so that even if you have to look at him / her again, there is no wrong feeling that you are staring. It is also nice to strike up a conversation so that you have to look at only this one person and can avoid many others.
@liranlgo (5752)
• Israel
10 Mar 07
i look straight at the person's eyes if i am in that kind of situation but i will always let them understand i am daydreaming o they wont get offended at first they think i am staring at them and they try to stare back but after they realize i still stare they understand i am day dreaming and not staring inpolitly..so they are not offended:)
3 people like this
@sincere (178)
• India
10 Mar 07
Very common thingh to come across a strangers.When i was child i didnt know where to see and what to talk? Now whenever i have a talk with strangers i just look into his\her eyes,try to be attentive about his talks.In this profasional world ,no one think that he is talking with strangers.
3 people like this
@perugu (5279)
• India
10 Mar 07
hi,friend,As i am a senior marketing person,i don't feel any thing new either known person or stranger.I will see straight into their eyes and start conversation directly.
3 people like this
• United States
10 Mar 07
I have always at least acknowledged that they are there, but making brief eye-contact and a small smile or nod of the head. If the bus or train is really packed I may start up some conversation or make some comments and hope for a return response. I have no trouble starting up conversation with people I don't know - it is their choice to continue or look away; and both have happened. When I was in China I didn't have to worry about looking at other's in the eye as I was usually taller than everyone - lol ~ and I just looked over their heads! haha How come you guys in Singapore do not talk to strangers? (I saw that on a post above) Is it considered ill-mannered?
2 people like this
• United States
10 Mar 07
lol You don't talk to strangers there, but look at all the talking you do here! :o) But, WHY do you not talk to strangers? Where did that start from or derive from? See for me, I wouldn't think you weird -- well, maybe I would~ (hahaha) but not for talking to me. How do you meet new friends? How does a guy and a girl connect if you don't talk to new people? Does it all usually come through introductions or the like?
1 person likes this
• Singapore
10 Mar 07
You are wrong on one count. myLot is not Singapore - it is international! :P I don't really like talking to strangers personally though I am not a shy person. In fact, I am usually one of the more vocal ones if it suits me. ;-) As for how 2 people meet, we have educational institutions, workplaces, common interest groups, dating agencies, why, isn't it the same everywhere? It's hard to imagine you just pick up a stranger in the street for a chat! :PP
• Singapore
10 Mar 07
Actually, if you talk to me, I would think you are weird. In Singapore, we just don't do that... Once, I was waiting for the train at the platform and I was reading a book. This guy next to me suddenly talked to me (OMG!!!) and commented that it looked like an interesting book. Then he asked to see it. Well since he started the conversation, the good, polite me naturally obliged. Then he went flicking through the pages... (I honestly think it didn't help him much)... so I suggested that he read the synopsis at the back. I think he only read a few lines before the train came, after which he returned me the book. The whole thing just felt so stupid to me... honestly. :P
1 person likes this
6 May 07
I guess I usually maintain the hazy, slightly out of focus gaze, aimed at the ceiling or the floor usually. Last time I was on a crowded bus I found myself reading and re-reading the adverts on the walls rather than appear to be staring at someone. It's difficult though, when you are crammed into a crowded bus or train, so most of the time I try to look down and avoid looking at anyone
2 people like this
• Singapore
6 May 07
And try to find inspiration from within perhaps. :P
1 person likes this
• Philippines
6 May 07
i will surely find ways not to be looking at the guy ahead of me. i will try to look sideways or maybe look at my palms and fingers as though there is something there which i can find to be unusual. i have encountered some people who gets angry if we get a good sight of them. i don't know the reason for this behavior but, i'd rather be free from getting a bad encounter with their kind.
• Singapore
6 May 07
Just don't get carried away and levitate. :P
1 person likes this
• United States
6 May 07
I always carry a book with me so if i were in your situation,i would just bury my nose in the book but if there were no book,I would probabaly alternate starting ahead and off to the side.
2 people like this
• Singapore
6 May 07
Yea, if possible, I would read a book too.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
7 May 07
hello lordwarwizard. Situations like this I try to avoid at all cost. Here in the Philippines, the most common public vehicle is the jeepney. I never ride it unless I get to sit on the front seat. Nevermind the hazard of being the first to die and go out the windshield when accidents happen ...hehehe. When I am in a hurry and don't have much choice but to seat at the back with the other passengers I do a lot of aiming to fellow passengers. I start by scanning if there's anyone I know. Then counting how many there are. How many men and women. I make eye contact just once. Then I look out the window and daydream. Thanks, good day!
• Singapore
7 May 07
What morbid thoughts in your mind. :P
1 person likes this
• Philippines
7 May 07
haha not at all morbid, just thinking up ways to pick and dissect the human brain and observe what makes people tick ;) shhhh