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Approachability and The Guy Who Wears a Name Tag

October 07 2004 – 10:11pm

One of my readers has brought to my attention Scott, a guy who wears a name tag every day. Apparently, he started doing so as an experiment, and it has introduced him to the wonderful world of spontaneous human interaction. This name tag has become his front porch that says “Hey! Come on up and chat!” and people tend to be more friendly now that he has his name tag on.

This piqued my interest because I often lament the lack of spontaneous human contact that I blame on the increased use of the private automobile and developments such as strip malls and suburbs. This is especially pronounced in a place like Omaha. People have pushed each other so far from one another that the ice that needs breaking is getting thicker and thicker. The result, in my mind, is that instead of having sustainable social networks, people have compartmentalized their lives and now must resort to dating services to find suitable partners, and “networking events” – specifically for exchanging business cards – to establish business “relationships.” I can theorize so many other repercussions and repercussions of the repercussions that I’m afraid to get any farther into it.

Next time you are walking down the street, and by some miracle, it happens to be a street on which there is another person other than yourself walking in the opposite direction, try to make eye contact with that person. It can be disturbingly difficult. You may want to try one of Scott’s 52 ways to build your front porch.

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This post is filed under Society.