The Smiling Project (Part One)

A little over a week ago, I was walking from my apartment towards Itaewon when I decided to smile at every single person I walked by. It was an interesting experiment. Some people KNEW that I was looking at them, and they completely avoided eye contact. The majority of people didn’t even realize I was trying to smile at them, as they just stared at the ground while they were walking. A few people stared back, and I think I had one person smile back (maybe….).

This walk stirred up something inside of me, it sparked an interest in my walking life. I walk to school every day, and I usually walk home too. I mulled over the idea of smiling at every person I walked by and wondered if I could do it…

So… this week I started The Smiling Project.

I made a few rules for myself. I will only do The Smiling Project when I am walking by myself, and only when I am walking (not on the bus or the subway, though I am free to smile at people in these locations, I don’t have to exhaust myself trying to smile at everyone, plus it looks much weirder when you have to stay in the same location^^).

What is The Smiling Project? Just what it sounds like. I am going to try to smile at every single person I walk by.

I have been doing it this whole past week and I observed a few things.

  • most people do not make eye contact
  • when I am wearing headphones I get almost no acknowledgment back, but when I am headphone free, it is more common to get a smile or confused look (this is still about 1 in every 10 people, as I mentioned before that most people don’t make eye contact)
  • one lady actually turned around to see who I was smiling at (even though I was smiling at her), it was pretty cute
  • the majority of people who actually smile back are either much older, or much younger than me
  • when I do get a smile back it feels really great

I will keep you updated on how The Smiling Project goes, and if anyone wants to join in on this project, leave a comment to let me know how it goes! I am excited to start seeing if I come across the same people on my walk (now that I am actually paying attention) and if I will have “regulars” to enjoy a daily smile with.

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