Say ‘Hello’

I still find it quite incredible that some people can find it impossible to bring themselves to say ‘hell0’ to a stranger. I greet everyone I meet when I am out for my daily constitutionals and it is about a 50% response rate. Men tend to be a lot better at acknowledging my existence but women are very hit and miss, especially pairs of women.

I am not asking anyone to do more than acknowledge my existence; I’m not asking them to stop and give me money or listen to my life story. Just a simple ‘hello’ or a ‘smile’ can make the world of a difference.

I am often reminded of the story of the man who was headed to jump off a bridge but had the proviso that if someone said ‘hello’ to him on the way that he would return home happy.

Who knows what anyone is going through and how much a simple smile or acknowledgement can change the entire look of the world.

I would much prefer to go where there is no one than to be ignored by people, especially when I have made the opening move of greeting them.

I know that greeting everyone in a city context is impossible but not out on a walk in a rural setting or small town when you might encounter a maximum of maybe 20-25 people.

Thank goodness, there are still friendly farmers in Ireland who say ‘hello’ to everyone and even have a kindly few words like: Great day for drying.

A Friendly Farmer with a Little Wave

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and sense of place.

31 thoughts on “Say ‘Hello’”

        1. Sometimes I play games and do the ignoring thing or say hello so cheerily that people are shocked into responding. But you need to be in the mood for that. 😊🌻

          1. Yes indeed, hubby often smiles at people and greets them with hello or Thank you if the move out the way, if the ignore him or don’t move he will say a loud “Not” 😜

  1. A lot of people here in Hull say hello and let’s face it, it’s the easiest thing in the world. Mind you, go down south to London and a friendly nod is rare.

  2. I’m not surprise to find out that some people are hesitant about saying hello to a stranger, perhaps it’s their upbringing admonishment of not talking to strangers that comes into play..I usually am forth-coming with a greeting and some will answer or pretend that they didn’t hear you ..This could be the case if they are hard of hearing but looking in the eye when saying it should resonate with them…It doesn’t cost anything to be nice and you may make that person’s day even a compliment goes a long way…

    1. I know the talking to strangers was a thing growing up but I don’t feel that anyone could see me as a threat when walking along, without even a stick!
      As for hard of hearing, the people I am referring to seem to have no trouble hearing their walking companions and show no signs of blindness except in the sense of being self absorbed.
      Treating people as invisible beings is just plain ignorant in my book.

  3. I live in the city, and if I’m out walking, I say hello to those I pass. And when my neighbors and I sit outside for happy hour, as people walk by with their dogs and children, we wave or greet them. I think it makes the world feel friendlier.

  4. Only unparliamentary language would be an apt response to these kinds of people. I think it’s akin to: go forth and multiply. Hope you’re well, Jean.

  5. Our small prairie city has the distinction of being among the top friendliest Canadian cities. I honestly can’t recall a time when a hello and a smile haven’t been offered or answered, be it on the streets, in the shops, or on my walking trails.

  6. I have always been a talk to strangers person, much to the chagrin of my children! LOL I do have a pet peeve with the people who do not answer a toddlers hello, I remember thinking evil thoughts when my grandson would say Hi to a passing adult and they would stare back at him.

  7. Hi Jean – Very interesting post. When I lived in New Jersey, no one ever said hello – they would always avert their eyes. And this is in the suburbs, not in the city! Now that I live in Massachusetts, I have found now a days when I am out walking, I say hello to everyone I pass. Almost everyone says hello back, some are a bit surprised, but they say hello anyway. These days, we are so starved for human contact since we have essentially been under quarantine for over a year.


    1. Hi Nancy, I agree you’d think people would be all the more sociable with the virus issues but no so here anyway. Maybe, they’ve become ultra depressed or introverted but clearly not helping themselves or anyone else.

  8. I know what you mean, Jean. I say hello to most. Some look down so that they can’t “see” me and some I startle and they answer back without thinking. Some even beat me to the hello! (Rare, I admit 😉 )
    Seems like such a simple thing to at least nod a head…

  9. As a road runner I always make an effort, especially as we apparently carried a great threat during the last 12 months with people diving into hedges or crossing the road to avoid us.

    Ireland (though Dublin not so much) is great for strangers acknowledging, even with just a nod or a smile. Mind in rural Ireland I find the natives being friendly is a great way of them getting to know your business and passing it on 🙂

    1. Either rural Ireland has changed or I must look like a wild sea creature as there aren’t half as many hellos or even nods as I would hope for, especially from pairs of women.

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