Saying Hello to a Stranger

will never forget a funny moment that happened to me in college that made me change about how I view human interactions in public. It all happen one day when I was on my way to the gym.

As I was getting out of my car, I walked through an outside path that lead to the beginning of this really long sidewalk. As I stepped foot on it, the distance between me and the gym was about 100 feet. t was a clear view from where I was standing to the gym, or so I thought…

From nowhere, this very attractive and fit woman appeared on the beginning of the other side of the sidewalk. “Oh no,” I said to myself, “There is going to be an awkward moment soon. ” And because there was absolutely no one in between us, increasing tension began to happen from the moment both of us made eye contact 100 feet away from each other.

The following thoughts were going through my head at this moment.

There’s only one path….

(80 feet away)

It’s okay… I need to get to the gym…

(60 feet away)

I want bigger muscles!…

(40 feet away)

I don’t have to walk through this…!

(20 feet away)

I could skip at a day at the gym… right?

(10 feet away)

No, I must work out today! Do it!

Usually, I would have done nothing and just passed by people. But I don’t know why, my internal being just decided to say, “Hello!”

However, judging from this woman’s facial, non-eye contact expression as we got closer and closer to each other, I was almost 100% certain that she would not greet me and pass me by if I did not do anything.

So as we were 10 feet away from each other, my heart sort of jumped. I knew I would only have one second at most to say hello. Everything at this point just telling me to just walk to the gym, as this was not worth the trouble.

But I said, “no” to my brain. What is wrong with saying a friendly hello to somebody you don’t know in public and making their day. So the the moment came.

As we passed by, I squirmed out “Hello,” with a half smile, and my hand half way up, looking somewhat foolish. I had made it just just in time for her to react. I will never forget her reaction.

When I said hello, her body like jolted for a split second. The moment felt as if I had done something wrong or like she had been hit by lightning.

Then you know what she did? She  looked at me with her straight face, and she did the most incredible thing that I will never forget.

She smiled and said… “Hello.”

It lasted for less than a second. Then she walked away, and I walked away too towards the gym.

The feeling that I felt was incredible, like I had just defeated a beast in the back of my mind. I also knew just from the way she reacted also, that not a lot of people in the day who walk past her in public to greet her. I had a good feeling that that one small act I did somehow made her day brighter and more positive, as I did when she acknowledged me. The rest of the time, working out at the gym was a breeze.

In the world of our parents telling us not to talk to strangers, it’s easy to judge strangers with a sense of fear to protect ourselves. Consequently, not everybody will say, “Hello” back to you if you stay it to them first. The ugly truth is, many people may find it weird that you are saying hello to them and even harsher, you may be ignored. (Gasp!).

Most people in the world are not accustomed when somebody in the street says hello to you. If you don’t believe me on this, go outside tomorrow and try it. The thought of just thinking about doing this screams inside from your body, “abort, reject, fear, etc.”

Now, think of it this way.

Everybody in the world is thinking like this!

So if you step out of the crowd, and say hello (smiling helps too) to another person, expect that they will be shocked, just as you would be shocked if somebody did this to you in public. I remember some guy on TV said in New York City, you will past by thousands of people a day, but only be greeted by two of them (and the two of them you already know).

In conclusion, if you have this expectation that people will be shocked when you say a simple hello and smile, then the worst thing that can happen is that you have made their day (when later in the day about that a friendly person that came up to say hi to them), and the best thing that can happen is that you will have created a relationship with somebody new on the planet. So next time your out in public, perhaps saying hello to somebody new. You never know what kind of difference you can change in their day and the difference you can make in the world.

Oh, I forgot to mention one thing to you, my reader, before I end this post for today.

Hello! :)