I’m not proud of this, but I often avoid looking strangers in the eye. An example is when I pass panhandlers or other people asking for money while I’m riding in my van. It doesn’t matter if it’s someone with a sign asking for a job, food, or money, or a firefighter soliciting donations in a boot — I’ll rarely look at them. Instead, I’ll ignore their gaze and stare at my phone.
Like me, I think many people prefer to focus on familiar things, rather than on strangers. Maybe one reason I avoid their gaze is more practical: I don’t drive and am moderately disabled due to Friedreich’s ataxia. So, I can’t physically help the strangers I pass as a passenger. Also, I almost never carry cash, so I don’t have any to hand out anyway.