Do the Wave!
Part of what makes us human is our ability to read expressions of other humans. From our earliest days, we’re able to recognize faces and we quickly learn what different expressions mean. When two people make eye-contact and smile, there is a connection, and it’s one that makes us feel good and comfortable as part of the human race.
These days, were I live in Los Angeles, masks are frequently required indoors and sometimes outdoors. Indoors you can make eye-contact, but it’s almost impossible to read a person’s expression when their nose and mouth are covered by a mask. Outdoors it’s often even harder because if people are wearing sunglasses, you may not even be able to make eye-contact.
I'm one of those people who frequently make eye-contact and smile at strangers. My solution for the mask problem is to give a cheery greeting (“Hello” “Good afternoon” etc.) and to wave. This definitely doesn’t replace a smile but it helps. I’m getting used to the fact that sometimes other people might not even notice my wave, but most respond to my greeting (though some walk grimly past, absorbed in something, or maybe just afraid).
Indoors, it can seem a little strange to wave, but I still do it, though it’s a smaller wave, and I find that people generally wave back. I still make eye-contact, but I replace the smile with a wave.
It can be challenging right now to make the kinds of connections that we’re used to with eye-contact and facial expressions, but there are other things you can do, and it’s worth the extra effort.
Why not try a wave, or a cheery greeting?