Say Hello to People in Your Neighborhood
Updated: Nov 22
Many mornings (ones which aren’t full of a deluge of rain in Seattle) I walk to school with my children. It’s not just a chance to see them off to school. It’s also an opportunity to walk through my neighborhood and see those who live around my family.
While I’m walking to school and back home, common sense says that everyone I pass along the way is a fellow parent, neighbor, or both. My goal is to greet all of them with a smile and a "Hello". Many of you might think that is weird. Trust me. It's more bizarre to walk past a person who is a potential neighbor and NOT acknowledge that they exist.
I’ve found it’s next to impossible for me not to smile and greet the people whose path I cross on the street. Again, for those who think that is delusional, consider the alternative. By not smiling at those (potential neighbors) who share the same street and whose children potentially attend the same school, you are being a freaking snob. Just smile for goodness sake.
A smile is a non-verbal hello. Dole it out in huge, amounts. The verbal “Hi”, for many is the non-verbal hug. People crave and need contact with each other. Even the shy people who have trouble reaching out need this personal connection.
If you tend to be shy, make an effort to look around you. Look up and look side to side. What do you see? Human beings? Your neighbors, perhaps? Give them a smile. Look at them and say “hello”. You will be pleased at the response you get.
The lack of a hello can completely confuse most human beings who truly want people to be congenial to each other. You’re going to drive past them on the street or in their cars. You’re going to see their kids on the playground. When you shop for groceries you see these same people because they live close to you and neighbors tend to shop at places close to home. You are going to hear their dog bark. They are going to hear your kids laughing when riding bikes and playing in the backyard. All these people are part of your community. It makes sense to greet them when you can. Really, it's pretty important.
If it hasn't occurred to you to greet your neighbors before, now is the time to begin with gusto. It takes very little effort, but the results are amazing. Really, there is little excuse to not start today. Begin with easy etiquette.
The four most important rules of etiquette are:
A clear voice
Bonus: Call people by their name
If shyness is a challenge for you, simply begin with the above and say hello to people who share your sidewalks, streets and general neighborhood noise. Your neighborhood is the perfect place to engage these rules and begin your efforts to say hello to others. As stated, they are the people in your neighborhood, the people who you are going to see each day. Hmmm, I’m having a Mr. Rogers moment. It does ring true, though.