Perhaps I’ll Smile And Nod More?

Since high school, I’ve found walking down the street a frequently uncomfortable situation when I see people I know walking towards me.

Where am I supposed to look? Do I look in their eyes for 150 yards?

I usually look off deliberately, artificially, and only acknowledge the person at the last moment.

I don’t have this problem with close friends. It’s everyone else I know.

When did this problem develop? I think it was when my family left Pacific Union College when I was in eighth grade. After this, I was no longer in the warm bosom of the Seventh-Adventist community. I’m not sure I’ve fully adjusted.

That’s my theory anyway. When we were all part of a tiny community, it was easy for me to look at everyone I knew in the face for as long as I wanted. Since then, I’ve been confused.

So now I have a new resolution from my 12-step program — be a beacon of hope. Take a chance at smiling and nodding more.

I have some serious intimacy issues. Whenever my boss gives me a choice between calling or emailing/faxing, unless it is someone I know and like, I always choose to email or fax. When I have to get on the phone and I am not entirely clear what to do, I sometimes feel terrified as I stumble out to a complete stranger my vague instructions. As I wait online, I sometimes feel like I’m falling through space.

And when my personal phone rings, I almost never answer it unless I know and like the person calling. Everyone else can wait.

A bloke in my 12-step program checked in almost three weeks ago. I’ve yet to return his call. And I like the guy.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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