“Avoiding conflict is avoiding contact”

When is the last time you looked someone in the eye?

Nathan Dvir did a great piece of commuters finding new ways to avoid each other on a New York subway station.

As he points out, no one is making eye contact with each other.


There’s a combination of things at work.

Culturally, we have found it acceptable to keep out of other people’s business. It’s almost weird now for someone to make small talk with us. Or maybe there is something more hierarchical going on? Maybe I’m just a low person on the totem pole. As always, status plays a role here.

I also think that when we avoid eye contact, we make it is easier to hide. To hide from the shame of not feeling good enough. We can also distract this narrative for a brief moment when we become lost in our digital world. This makes me think, deep down we just don’t think our lives are that interesting anymore.

Why should we talk to anyone? I’m just Josh from California.

Are we that worried about what others think of us?

We work so hard to avoid exposure. When the truth is, that is what we are all desperately craving. For someone to see us. To lean into someone and hope they will catch us.