Stand back, doors opening
I have a big black dog, as I have written about a few times (here and here and here). He expects every creature that he encounters to be nice, smell good, and provide him with pets and treats. Except squirrels. Squirrels are bad.
The same can’t be said for the expectations people and other creatures have for my dog. Since I am usually with him when I am outside, I have learned to see people through their relationship to him. Some people are curious, some are attracted like a magnet, and some are afraid (The squirrels are not afraid). I usually smile and say hello to each person to indicate that he is friendly, and to see if we should leave some extra space. This requires that I look each person we encounter in the eye, but my role in these connections are neutral or facilitating.
Now that I am spending some time traveling alone, I still have the same observations of people while there is space between us. No expectations, no fear, but still looking. No one is really looking back, though.
Photo credit: A. Lillie