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Observe people out a window

The other day I was sitting in a cafe, and realized something: When I was observing people out the window, I was far more open to both eye contact and openly staring at people to observe the way they acted and dressed or looked than I would normally be, even if people were at the same distance from me.

Even when people walked up to the window to look in, and were maybe a meter or two away from me, I found it reasonably easy to just stare them down.

It's not hard to figure out why: The window is a safety blanket. Hiding behind it separates you from them, and suddenly much more forward behaviour becomes "acceptable" to you.

Think about how you behave at home too. Even if your curtains aren't drawn, chances are you are willing to wear less or do sillier things when you're inside than you would if ou were right outside your own window.

This does provide an interesting opportunity for you to practice things you wouldn't normally dare do, and get some positive experiences with it that you can then try carrying over.

Sunglasses have the same effect for some, or even just ordinary glasses.

Even listening to music on your mp3 player.

Separating yourself ever so slightly from "them" can reduce the anxieties felt over interaction.