Last night as I went about my evening routine, I took off my glasses to wash my face, and then didn't bother to put them back on to take my garbage to the garbage chute. As I walked back from the garbage chute, a small group of young men whom I didn't know emerged from one of the other apartments. I looked in their direction and realized that without my glasses, I couldn't read their facial expressions. I wasn't sure if they were making eye contact with me or if they were giving me a smile of acknowledgement or if their head just happened to be turned in my direction.
Because of this, I felt I didn't know how to respond appropriately. I don't like to greet strange men with more enthusiasm than they greet me, but I do like to return neighbours' greetings in kind unless there's a specific reason not to. Without my glasses on, I couldn't see his face clearly enough to gather the necessary information.
I wonder if this is why I have poor facial expression skills in general?
I've always been nearsighted, but we didn't catch it until I was 12 or 13. Maybe in the formative years of my life, I simply didn't receive information from facial expressions, so maybe I don't look there for information as much as other people, and am not as accustomed to using facial expressions to communicate because I'm not as accustomed to them being informative. I do remember in elementary school, my mother mentioned that she recognizes people primarily by their eyes, which baffled me because I recognized people primarily by their hair. That would make sense based on my eyesight - eyes are smaller and more detailed, but hair is larger and quite often has a specific shape and a contrasting colour. (Since I was a child at the time, my peers didn't drastically change their hair nearly as often as people do in adult life.)
When I was walking down that hall last night without my glasses on, I felt a bit frightened and intimidated because I couldn't read the strange men. This is similar to the sense of fear and intimidation I felt about everyone when I was a kid. In retrospect, I wonder if it's just because my eyesight didn't allow me to read people?