Say Hello to People in Your Neighborhood
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 or a neighbor. My goal is to greet all of them with a smile and a "Hello".
I’ve found it’s next to impossible for me not to smile and greet the people whose path I cross on the street. 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 are shy, look out. Look up and look around you. What do you see? 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 someone like me who truly wants people to be congenial to each other. Especially the people who live where you live. You’re going to drive past them. 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 clearly 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, 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.
The four most important rules of etiquette are:
Smile Eye contact A clear voice And a bonus: Calling people by their name
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 flashback here. It does, however, ring true. If shyness is a challenge for you, begin by saying hello to people who you share sidewalks, streets and general neighborhood noise with.