Why do people look away? C’mon, you know what I’m talking about. I’ve been guilty, too. It’s when you’re in a public place and you make eye contact with someone – could be anyone – someone you know or even a stranger. Rather than maintain eye contact, smile or say hello, we avert our eyes and keep on walking.
Ok, ok, I know, sometimes there are safety issues. I remember when I was getting ready to move to NYC a caring friend told me to never make eye contact with anyone in the subway, to keep my gaze looking straight ahead and to maintain a determined look about me. She was just looking out for my well-being. But, let’s say there is no safety concern.
Instead, let’s say we ought to just behave in a neighborly way and greet one another as human beings. What could be the harm? Are we worried we won’t remember their name or they won’t remember ours? Are we in such a hurry that a simple “hi, there” would throw a kink into our entire schedule? Truly, there’s no need to stop and chat – a warm “hello” and a smile will due whether you know the individual or not.
And, at the risk of revealing one of my big secrets, I must share a little tidbit that just gives me a belly tickle every time… when I sense that someone I know has seen me but is trying to avoid saying hello, I march right up to them with a greeting of my own! My feeling is just because they are choosing to be unfriendly, I don’t need to be. I’m not trying to bully or embarrass anyone – I’m really not! But I do believe in the power of genuine, authentic connection with others and “hello” is a really good place to start.
So, the next time you are out walking the dog and you pass another person out for a stroll, don’t look away! Just smile and say “hello.” It’ll brighten their day and yours!