Approachability

Everyone talks to Jen. I’m not just talking about friends in social situations, I mean anywhere and everywhere. For example we went to the dep to get the Saturday paper at the weekend, and the guy behind the counter immediately launched into a conversation with Jen about the weather. If we’re in a bar and there’s an obnoxious drunk around, he will talk to Jen. We could be sitting in a restaurant eating a meal and someone at the next table will start talking to Jen. In line-ups, walking down the street, in shopping malls, on aeroplanes, at gas stations, in the cinema, in public bathrooms (so I’ve been told), in the doctor’s waiting room. Wherever we are, some random person will always talk to Jen.

Nobody talks to me.

So what’s that all about then? What makes Jen irresistably approachable and me so avoidable? Is it simply a gender thing? Does being female automatically make you more approachable? I think that might be partially true, but it’s not the whole story. I think Jen has an open and honest face. She smiles a lot and is completely non-threatening. She also probably maintains better eye contact than I do. When a conversation does start up, she has more to say than I do.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be like Jen, I think I would get annoyed very quickly if random people kept talking to me wherever I went. It would be nice though, occasionally, to be sitting somewhere and have someone strike up a conversation with me.

I’m an expert at projecting the “leave me alone, don’t talk to me” aura, which is very useful sometimes, but I’d also like to be able to project the “ok I’m a bit bored and wouldn’t mind a bit of a chat” aura. How does one do that?

5 thoughts on “Approachability”

  1. I’m a naturally shy person who has learned to hide it. I bet most people wouldn’t peg me as an introvert, but I am. I even used to feel nervous about calling somewhere for take-out. The reason I’m sharing my internal silliness is that I used to be more like you. Things I’ve learned:
    A smile goes a long way. Or you could say something first, so that the other person feels more comfortable. Or you could not care what anyone thinks and just talk to hear your own voice.

  2. Not sure, but my Mom and I also get chatted to by anyone and everyone as well. I think it’s got to do with having a round face – it probably seems more approachable than someone with a narrow face. Also, Jen and I dealt with/deal with customers for a living and might have that “may I help you?” vibe about us.

    Either that, or it’s ‘cos we have big boobies. You need to start stuffing your shirt.

  3. Smiling, it must be smiling. I get talked to a lot, and I’m sure it is because I run around the world looking like a grinning idiot. When I used to go dancing in clubs (I’m old lady-ish and rarely do that anymore) I was often approached by men, and one of my friends, prettier (I think) and yes, with bigger boobs, was not. Why? She looked at her shoes all night.
    So, rather than stuff your shirt, which might make you look creepy, try smiling at strangers.

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