I do think this has to be the most “serious” blog entry I’ve made since the start but I feel that it is indeed necessary to bring it up as it is starting to annoy me more and more.
I (temporarily, during th search for something else), work at a sports center in my home town. It is generally a pleasant place with good colleagues and clients from a wide range of backgrounds and needs, somethings creating a small challenge or two. Naturally, this requires a lot of face to face communication both pool side and at the reception. While I try to look my customers in the eyes to establish a (professional) relationship between us, I am often met the other parties hair or ear while he/she is looking down in to the desk or in another direction. At first I just ignored it but over time started to successively see this more as a lack of respect (and this regardless if this is towards me or someone else). My response to this ever increasing problem was to test what would happen if I didn’t answer anyone who didn’t look at me and the results were quite interesting. While some took the hint and looked up, other people continued to look away or even left when they realized that in order to get something they would have to look at me. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not asking for people to look me straight in the eyes but the least one can ask for is to look in my direction. I can accept children not being fully educated who do this, but ADULTS!? Likewise, I’ve left stores where the clerk hasn’t looked at me when I am standing right in front of him/her.
Taking a walk, one will also notice this very peculiar behavior, more in Sweden than in other countries e.g. France, even if this is an increasing phenomenon even there. Try to see for yourself what happens the next time you look at someone you meet when you are out walking, and again I am NOT talking about staring, just simple eye contact. Most likely, the other party will look away or even swiftly cross the street in order to avoid you and Don’t even TRY to greet this person as he/she might die from a heart attack from the shock.
I ask myself again, why!? Is it because we distrust people so much or that we are afraid that our inner thoughts will be revealed? Is it perhaps a change in values? Or is it just a matter of me being incredibly conservative (I do admit to this)?
Would be interesting to hear your views on this as well