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July 19, 2011 / windlessly

Smile First

I love it when people you’re walking by on the street or standing in line with at the grocery store randomly come up and talk to you. People you don’t even know, but they’re just naturally nice and don’t mind spending a few seconds of their time in conversation. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside, and always makes me more cheerful afterwards.

I also like just the random hellos and waves you get from people if you’re passing them on your bike or running past their lawn, times when you don’t have time to stop and chat. A lot of the people around my neighborhood are out a lot, walking dogs, jogging, walking, sitting on their porch, so I’ve gotten numerous different greetings. A personal favorite of mine is the head nod, subtle but meaningful. Usually it comes from other runners that I pass, sometimes who are listening to their ipods, so it’s a gesture well received.

What I don’t like are the grouchy old people who flat out ignore you, or the teenagers around your age that you may or may not recognize, but pretend not to know you. Or just the people that pretend to tie their shoe or look in the opposite direction just as you pass. That just annoys me. But what I’ve found recently is that a lot of people, no matter how grouchy they look, actually open up a lot more if you smile first. What I do is I smile and make eye contact- if they react, then I wave and say something cheerful as I go by. It’s a lot better than not smiling and then not getting anything in return, and has a much higher success rate than hoping the other person is friendly enough to say “hi” or “how’s it going” first. So I don’t know, contrary to what people might think, there are still a lot of friendly people left in this world, they just may not show it.

So take a chance and smile first. It’s hard not to smile back at someone who smiles first, even if it’s a complete stranger. I find myself doing that more and more on my runs, trying to be the first to initiate some kind of cheerful greeting. It’s just one little thing to make your day a bit happier.

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2 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. David Zhang / Jul 20 2011 2:37 pm

    The little things in life make the difference…

  2. Anonymous / Jul 23 2011 4:01 pm

    Love what you write. :)This verse come up in my mind.So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.Matthew 7:12

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