…say HELLO to each other without knowing each other. Why are you doing this?”
A colleague asked me a few years ago.
I love statements like this and even more what comes of it when we engage in such conversations.
Since I do it too, I could only explain it like this:
I also noticed that the Europeans I observed in Kenya also said hello to each other, simply because there is a visual resemblance.
I also noticed: I also welcome joggers, walkers, cyclists who do their morning laps like me.
When hiking: Hikers greet each other anyway.
I also observe that motorcyclists practice this as well.
But most consciously I greet people with dogs. Here I make sure, especially in deserted areas, that we have eye contact. Rationale: I have a lot of respect for dogs and I don’t know what they’re going to do next, especially when they just run right up to me.
Therefore, eye contact gives me the feeling of security. Especially when these people with dogs greet you with a smile.
Saying hello or smiling at strangers has already opened many doors for me, especially with people:
📍 who are unsure themselves how to deal with the Susans in this country
📍who for some reason are just reserved and not talkative (diversity has many faces)
📍 who haven’t shared their views so far because they didn’t feel understood. With a smile or hello they are ready to open up to me. Magical.
Are you new to your area; just say hello in your neighborhood or at work, loud and clear, even if you don’t speak the language yet.
If someone doesn’t say hello back, it doesn’t have to be about you, because it can be for a variety of reasons: their minds are completely elsewhere, or they just had a bad day.
Always remember, there are many sides to a story.
Still say hello. Do not give up. All good relationships start with simple greetings.
I understand if you’re skeptical: what if they reject you?
Please remember, you can take the first step. What’s easier than a smile, hello, or nod to show a person you notice them?
If you can do that, you will also master the larger challenges that diversity and inclusion bring.
I found an article worth reading on the subject of “The Gift of Greetings” (link in the comment).
Are you a person who also takes the first step towards encounter?