Though it is almost always the more difficult choice to make, I think it is very beneficial to always say hello to the people that you encounter during the day. When you choose to acknowledge someone’s presence with a simple “hello” and a smile you automatically assign value to the greeted person. I do not imagine that most people would assume to give no value to all of the people they don’t interact with during the day, but without intentionally showing our value of others we often passively communicate that we are indifferent to their presence. We communicate that it would be the same to us if they were there or if they were not present at all. I’m not going to talk about whether or not it is our responsibility to grant everyone a sense of value, but it certainly seems a better option to grant that value given the choice.
Not only do we communicate to others around us that they do have value (because they do) we also briefly invite others to participate and contribute to our lives. That participation might be as nominal as a greeting in return and nothing more, however; the important thing to consider is that the person that you greeted might contribute something much more substantial than a returned greeting. Personally, I can think of several ways myself and others have benefited greatly from inviting other people to contribute to our lives by saying hello.
On of my favorite examples happened to me earlier this year. The short version of the story features me taking an extra trip into campus for a reason that I cannot remember. While on my way in I saw a information table and display set up along the sidewalk. It would have been very easy for me to avert my eyes and pretend that I was too busy to acknowledge the people trying to offer helpful information about their organization. Instead of taking the easy way out, I chose to make eye contact and say hello to one of the organization’s representatives. The ensuing conversation led to an understanding that I was like minded on the cause the organization was advocating. As a result we continued our communication and eventually decided to partner together to collect items for women and children at the local Crisis Pregnancy Center.
It is nearly impossible to calculate or anticipate the outcomes of opening your life to others by saying hello. Most of our simple interactions with others probably will not lead to something as substantial as participating in the National Community Baby Shower, but we will never have those opportunities if we never open ourselves up to other people.