Engaging Culture

What If We Made Saying Hello To Strangers Cool Again?

Maybe we could even get it trending on social media

It may be because I was raised a polite southern boy from North Carolina, but whenever I pass someone on the street, I feel a compulsion to say hello, wave, or somehow acknowledge their presence. Honestly, I’m amazed at the number of people in cities around the world who are perfectly comfortable completely ignoring other folks they encounter on a daily basis.

So I started an experiment: In the mornings, I work out at a gym here in Los Angeles, and the parking lot is about 30-40 yards from the entrance to the building. Over that distance, I typically pass 3-5 people either coming or going from their workout. And not one would ever even nod.

So I decided to change things.

Now, I say “Hello” to every person I meet walking to the gym. Sometimes I give a little wave, and sometimes it’s just “Hi,” but I’ve made it a point to acknowledge every single person I pass. Now it’s expanded from the gym and I’m doing it everywhere.

At first, most didn’t respond at all. They just kept walking. But little by little, I’ve started wearing them down. Now I’m getting at least a small nod from most, and a few have started smiling and saying “Hello” back.

I admit it’s not exactly a revolution of kindness, but it’s a start. So what if we could get saying “Hello!” to trend on social media? What if we all commit to noticing people we pass on the street and show them they are seen? What if we could let people know we care? What if it could lead to world peace?

OK, that last one was a stretch, but I do think we could be on to something.

Try it out. Share this post. Use the #Hello hashtag.

Let’s see what happens!

#Hello

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One Comment

  1. I guess it depends where you are. If I’m downtown in a big city, I’m not going to say hi to every person I pass because there’s too many. Plus I walk too fast and have headphones in, so I don’t see a point.
    Perhaps if I’m on an emptier street and it’s just me and one or two others, I’ll at least do the White Person Smile and nod, but that’s more in an if-i’m-polite-please-don’t-murder-me kind of way… Saying hello is nice but I’d rather we all mind our own businesses.

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