What Would It Cost You to Smile, Greet or Just Nod?
Can't you speak
I was just wondering, what would you pay for a smile, one dollar, one million dollars? What about, a hello, how are you, or just a simple nod? Can you put a price on these things? When you come face to face with someone, what would it hurt simply to acknowledge their presence, a nod, a smile, a tilt of the head, or why not a simple greeting, (hi, hello, etc)? It appears, today that these things are very expensive. I say that because, when I come face to face with someone, it's as if, I need to fork over some serious cash to get even a slight smile, never mind a greeting. These statements might seem a little abundant, but bear with me here, I'm making a point.
When I was growing up in the deep south, (Georgia to be exact), it was a definite must, that you speak to everybody you meet, or just passed on the street. Maybe I should rephrase that, it was a given. From an early age, we knew what was expected of us. For instance, when we would pass someone on our way to the store or to visit someone, we'd say "hey, mister, or miss whoever." Now on the way back from that location, the expectation was to repeat the greeting. No one found that at all strange, it was just a way of life. If for any reason, we didn't speak, the "offended" would simply say, "can't you speak." If you were young enough your parents would hear of it. In those days, we were raised by a "Village," or so it seemed, and we all felt so safe.
When I moved to my present state, things were quite different. I was in for a serious culture shock. One day while walking past two ladies, conversing across the fence with one another, I, with my great big toothy grin, said, a very enthusiastic "Hi." One said a tentative "Hi," the other didn't speak at all. As I was passing, I overheard their conversation, which went something like this, "who is that, I don't know, I thought you knew her, I don't know her." That was the exchange that went on between the two. That didn't deter me, I kept that up for a long time, but had to curtail it somewhat, due to the lack of response. That was then, this is now, News flash, what I experienced way back then, I experience now, no matter where I go, across the country, or across the world. No place has escaped the new "I don't know you," attitude. I've learned not to assume that I will get a response when I try to speak to somebody, however, to a limited degree, I still try.
We seem to think that we have to know everybody we greet. Granted we have to be careful not to go to extremes in our attempts to make friends. However, I'm not really talking about making friends, just a greeting, and or a smile. What would be the harm in saying a friendly hello, or just a smile, or even a slight nod of the head to acknowledge someones presence. Who's to say that you won't make the day of someone that teetering on the brink of, whatever. Sometimes we walk around seemingly with the weight of the world on our shoulders, and just to be acknowledged, and made to feel like we matter, could be all that we need.
Why not try this, everyday, attempt to make one person's day. The way to do this is, get the attention of someone we meet, and say hello, smile, or just a nod, to acknowledge their presence. You could be pleasantly surprised. Be careful though, suspicion abounds, so if your attempts are rebuffed, don't press the issue, move on, there's someone else out there that would appreciate it. Most of us feel, that in the grand scheme of things, we're nobody anyway, and that is true, but if just one person gave us the time of day, it could just make our day.
Up till now I've been talking about stranger on stranger encounters, but what about our acquaintances, our work mates, or even family members with whom we live. You see, we sometimes feel as if we're the only person that matters in this world, and if it's not done to us, why should we make the attempt. Why? Well, let's consider the Golden Rule, do to others as you would have them do to you. So if you want to be considered, then consider others. Think about this, you want to be acknowledged, or made to just feel like you matter, well make someone else feel that way. I have a tendency at times to walk up to an acquaintance and just begin a conversation, without greeting them, and because they know me so well, they will simply say, "hello, how's your day," or something to that effect. You see I tend to take my acquaintances for granted and I am so appreciative for the reminder, and I am truly working on that.
My mother use to say, if we walked into a room, without speaking to her, "did I sleep with you last night?" So upon entering any room, why not just smile, say hello, or just nod. Try this, ask someone "how's your day, (sincerely), and listen for the response, and respond accordingly. Upon entering your place of employment, smile, speak, or just nod. Even before you get to work, at the service station, the coffee house, etc, greet them with a smile, make their day. How much does it cost you for those simple pleasantries?
You can change
Maybe at this point, you're saying, "I've been this way all my life, and I can't change." Yes you can, just put forth the effort. Be determined to change, after all, it's a simple gesture that will cost you nothing, but that could yield substantial dividends. You could make someones day, you could be the just the catalyst a person needs to make it through a difficult time, or just think, your day could be made. So when someone acknowledges you, go ahead and speak, smile, or just nod. Better still, you take the initiative to speak, smile or just give a nod, and see what your day could be like. Then when the question is asked, "what's the cost of a smile or a greeting, you can say inestimable.
© 2009 Alfreta Sailor