Yesterday, while on Facebook, a friend of mine posted this quote:
“Think about it. Who would you rather talk to, the girl scowling at everyone from under her bangs, the girl who looks at you and then, terrified, looks down at her shoes, or the girl who makes eye contact and has a warm smile?”
– How to win friends & influence people for the teenage girl.
So conversation ensued from various points of view, but I posted that, “When I felt more compelled to smile at random strangers while out & about, people took it as an opportunity to make a pass at me. No thanks. I just try to mostly avoid eye contact now.”
There was conversation about approachability, attracting interesting people, and being attracted to one’s character rather than one’s outward appearance. There was negative feelings because certain people felt that many of the women who commented on being in these sorts of situations, were giving themselves backhanded compliments and then complaining about the attention. I felt frustrated with the conversation because on the whole I think society’s standards of beauty are stifling and ridiculous anyway, but I also think that many women get unwanted attention based on appearance on a daily basis, and I don’t think men are necessarily always in a position to understand this.
I really do believe it’s what’s inside that counts, and so I am attracted to people because of their hopes, dreams, fears, thoughts, opinions, beliefs, goals, etc. I am attracted to the way people choose to occupy their space in this world. And I want other people to be drawn to me for these reasons too.I left the conversation after a bit as I had family coming over for dinner, but also because I felt like there was really no point in continuing. I can always share my experiences, whatever they may be, but I can’t force someone to see my point of view if they are completely closed off to it. And that’s okay too, because sometimes people just aren’t ready to explore another point of view or possibility.
I had wanted to add though, that yes, attention at times can be nice. However, sometimes a smile really is just a smile. It’s not an invitation to ask for a phone number. It’s not an invitation for someone to make a comment about outward appearance, unless maybe it’s about the smile that was just offered up.
For me personally, I have a life partner, and I have two children. While I always have room to meet new and interesting people who may become friends, that is ALL I have room for.
The world can be a harsh place. If I feel compelled to offer you up a smile while going about my daily business, please just know that all I’m doing is trying to offer some positive energy, some kindness, some softness, into a world that I believe, can always use more of it.
If someone offers you a smile, accept it. And try offering the gift of one right back.