The other day I was walking with Jamie and the dog after work when a man dressed in a marine suit said something to Jamie and I that I couldn't exactly hear and sounded rude. When we were out of earshot I asked Jamie what he said, and Jamie's response was, "The marine guy said, good evening mam, good evening sir." Oops. I felt bad that I misjudged what the marine was saying.
Additionally it made me me realize that I found it weird for some stranger to show us some politeness on the street. There is something wrong when the idea that someone greets you on the street and your first reaction is to look the other way.
This reminded me when I had a friend come and visit me from out of the state and she was unhappy with her visit to Boston because not one person smiled or said hello to her. She said this place was WAY to unfriendly for her. I laughed and said she was being silly, now I think differently. Seriously, when was the last time you said hello to a stranger?
So I tried my little experiment yesterday by smiling at several strangers. Most ignored me but a few smiled back and even went a step further to wish me well. It made me feel great and perhaps even brightened the day of the stranger who smiled back.
So take some time today, or this weekend to greet the person walking by. Maybe even take it a step further and strike up a conversation. Who knows the good it can do. All I know is people shouldn't find it strange or scary when someone is saying hello.
Photo of happy people at a OYFP Event