I have a question.
I'm a Taiwanese American staying in Taiwan now. Every time I go out in Taiwan, esp if there's a lot of young people around, I feel so depressed, isolated and disconnected, as though I don't exist. No one makes any eye contact with me at all. And when people eat, they turn their head downwards, like solemn monks or something. It looks so repressed when they do that. I'm the only one who eats with his head up while looking at the people around me, which makes me feel freakish like the "odd one out" since no one looks back at me. I can't help but feel depressed and lonely by this. It makes me feel totally isolated and disconnected from others.
How do other foreigners here tolerate it? How do they live here for years on end? I certainly can't tolerate this. It's so damn depressing to see this everytime. I can't be myself. I can't make eye contact with people, can't flirt, can't open a conversation using English, etc. The whole thing is the most UNNATURAL thing in the world.
How do other guys tolerate it? I can't imagine I'm the only one who feels this way. Is there something wrong with me? I imagine I would feel the same way in Japan or Korea too, since everyone says there is no eye contact with strangers there either.
Also, since no one in public here is talking to anyone they don't know, or cold approaching anyone, it feels totally inappropriate and "out on a limb" for me to approach any girls to start up a conversation. I just don't get good vibes from the experience at all. Other than one guy I know, I've NEVER EVER seen any guy, white or asian, here making cold approaches toward women to try to start up a conversation or flirt with them. It just isn't normal. People usually meet new people at parties/get togethers, or through mutual friends, similar to America. Cold approaches is not even part of the paradigm here, so it's not even an issue. It's also very depressing when you see a hot girl with a cute face, thin body, or sexy long legs, who totally ignores you and doesn't even look back at you - which makes it feel completely inappropriate to try to hit on her.
I'm sure people here are very nice and considerate deep down, but it's just so hard to break the ice. I've been to a few parties and picnics here, and people are nicer and more sociable there. But out in public, there is no eye contact at all, and that feels so depressing and deflating.
Can someone explain why this makes me depressed, in an objective way, without any victim blaming?
Most countries are not like this. Eye contact is normal in most countries. Keep that in mind.
My parents say this is normal and to not take it personally. But they are repressed themselves, and repressed people don't see anything wrong with other repressed people of course. Only non-repressed people do.
Am I a total misfit here, in terms of personality and communication style? What can you do about that?
Has anyone else experienced this in East Asia too?