The State of “Good Morning”s & “Hello”s (…my how things have sort of changed…)

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Back in October 2011, I wrote a little blurb on my Tumblr [link to blurb] about the the declining and actually depressing state of “hello”s and “good morning”s in this world. At the time, I was still living in the East Bay and working at the ___- actually I remember the moment as I was typing it all very clearly.

I had just gotten off the El Cerrito North BART [Bay Area Rapid Transit] (coming off the Red-Richmond Line from San Leandro). Picked up my morning cup of delicious Caramel Latte (or was it Earl Grey Tea?) from the Peets Coffee. Walking with a bounce in my step, and a huge smile on my face towards Buchanan Street on San Pablo Street (fuck, can you tell that I really miss this place?), I was determined to greet every person as I passed – as was customary of, well, y’know…mornings? Haha. After quite a few people that I passed, I remember pulling out my phone and quickly throwing this up onto the interwebs:

It’s interesting, people don’t seem to be quite as friendly as they used to be. Or perhaps this is relative to being in Irvine in which the community is so safe that one wouldn’t ever consider anyone else suspiciously.

This morning I’m taking the Bart to work, but in order to get there I have to walk about half a mile to the station then after I get to destination I have to walk another 1.6 miles. Just in that half mile alone, it was very interesting-amusing and incredibly sad to see the look of surprise on people’s faces when I greeted them and bid them “Good MORNING” in passing. What has become of greeting your fellow morning goer. Despite the fact that one may not want to be awake, the very action alone increases your own happiness and awakens one to one’s surroundings.

I do understand college students though not wanting to greet people ; the majority have probably already spent all night awake and can hardly deal with themselves let alone others. This was evident every morning that I drove the early shifts at Unitrans. Hehe.

Well, we will see how many other people look up incredulously and in shock and/or smile and greet me when I walk to work. Haha.

But in all honesty, a nice good morning goes a long way.

Now that I live in the South – both here in Raleigh (actually, especially here in this tri-city area around Raleigh), but also up in SouthWest Virginia – and have travelled around this Southern area to Georgia and whatnot, it seems that I was wrong in my assumptions and that the customs of saying “Hello” and “Good [insert time of day here]” have not changed very much! Everyone here is – even if it may be all a show – welcoming and courteous; the culture is so different! People will look up from across the street and wave at you, look up from their books and say hello, pass you by on the street and smile at you with a twinkle in their eyes!

There is something incredibly reassuring about looking someone in the eyes as you pass them and giving them a greeting. In fact, I hadn’t even started it until I’d received a few greetings of my own! At first, I was quite taken aback and surprised – much like my previous victims in the Bay Area – but have quickly learned to reply in eager step and beat. Definitely one of the things to brighten a day and turn that frown upside-down (cliche, I know).

While it may actually take a certain amount of gumption and courage to go out there and put on that smile and say “Hi! Good (insert time of day here)”, definitely would recommend it as part of a daily regimin. While it may weird some people out – and there is always that fear of rejection from such – don’t be afraid, it brightens your own day to see a happy response back!

Have you ever done so?

What did you think?

If you’ve never tried it before, I double-dare you to get out there and do it! 🙂 See what happens; you may be pleasantly surprised.

Disclaimer – At no point in this am I suggesting that you should also run after the candy truck if someone offers it to you. Any bodily harm caused by inadvertent candy men are in no way connected to this.

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About floatingsheep
Recently moved to Blacksburg, Virginia (Virginia Tech) for graduate school from good ol' sunny California. Wanting to share my (mis)adventures around the East Coast and in general. :D

5 Responses to The State of “Good Morning”s & “Hello”s (…my how things have sort of changed…)

  1. haha i know what you mean! been there done that. i think general actions of goodwill are so few and far-in-between nowadays that people hardly know how to handle them =P

  2. Courtney says:

    I always try to look people in the eye if I am passing by them… (and feeling confident). I actually had someone stop me one time in the hall and said “thank you for replying and smiling, you don’t know how much that means to me.” Sometimes it is the smallest thing that changes your day.

  3. Luke says:

    You would love Sierra Leone. Greetings are highly valued there, and you wouldn’t dream of passing someone in the street without a “Morning O!”, which often is followed up with a short of exchange of “How is the morning?”, “Fine. How about yourself?” “Fine, have a nice day.” “And you as well.” (in the local language of course!) And this is for people you don’t know. If you see a neighbor or friend, you’d probably stop and talk for several minutes, depending on how urgent your business was.

    I couldn’t agree with you more that it is reassuring to greet people. It makes you feel more connected to your community (whether it is small or big), and thus to humanity as a whole.

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