#Weekly experiments / Results / Wise

Going first – for better or meh

If you like to be alone from time to time, know that you are not alone.
This experiment was about “practicing going first” – smiling first, greeting first, communicating first. It should be great, right?
Well no. My feelings are mixed at best.
It turns out it’s not an easy thing to do in Singapore, and not the best thing for me. And it may be dangerous (with some people) because it sends the wrong signals.
Have you tried to smile at people on public transport in the morning?
You should, it’s an interesting feeling. Especially if the numbers are like I had on Tuesday
  • 17 looking at their phone
  • 2 sleeping
  • 1 looking at her reflection and fixing her hair
  • 0 eye contact
At the end of the ride I was grinning – because I felt super ridiculous.
I didn’t have much luck in the office lift either – people wouldn’t even respond to my ‘good morning’.
At least it worked in the office – I went for lunch with a colleague who I don’t usually talk to much.
Wednesday was more fun. One elderly man noticed me smiling and we ended up chatting about where he’s from, where he works, about the museum they have in their office building. We even exchanged numbers and agreed to go out for coffee some day.
I was quite amazed that it is really possible to talk to strangers on MRT, and I told about the encounter to my friend. She told me she had bad experience with being vaguely nice to strangers when living in Dubai, because they often got wrong ideas. She said especially Egyptian men were quite sleazy. Of course the guy I met is from Egypt!
I declined his invitation for dinner (my family is visiting anyway), but I still want to talk to him and understand what he things about our meeting.
That day I was considering asking the same colleague to join me for lunch, but I actually wanted to be alone. I’d love to be sociable all the time, but I’m not. To stay sane I need to be left alone for at least 2 days a week, otherwise I’m a grumpy cat.
If you like to be alone from time to time, know that you are not alone.
Recently I’m not getting enough me-time due to lots of visitors, so I opted for lunching alone.
I tested going first further – and ended up having some nice chats with Uber drivers and an uncle in the bus, talked to a girl at the airport (she laughed at me as I was jumping and waving trying to get attention of my mom at the luggage belt), got suspicious looks from aunties at the coffee shop, and was a lucky winner of quite a few blank stares in the lift.
So what is the verdict for this experiment? It’s a big Meh.
It’s nice to be nice, but one can’t have big expectations. It might be interesting to experiment if people would greet back if I’d be  greeting them in office lift for 1 month. And it’s a good rejection therapy. But I’m not very interested in small talks that only skim the surface, and prefer to spend my social mental energy more efficiently.
In fact I’ll rather listen to interesting podcast than look for people to smile at.
Sorry Gabby, this one doesn’t work for me.

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