I am not a pessimist, well not completely… yet. I try to have a positive attitude at all times. Especially times that involve people who do not know me. I like to make a good first impression. With that said, there are some actions that just deserve reciprocation. Actions that try to promote a positive setting like a friendly wave or saying hello. My major expectation? If I smile at you, please do me the courtesy of smiling back.
I was very shy when I was younger, and I would keep my eyes pointed down when I was in public. I would never make eye contact. I would walk past friends in a mall and never know it until they yelled my name. Now that I’m older and I have a job where I work around hundreds of people, I try to be more personable. I work in a warehouse that has been converted into office space, and I work in the very back of that huge building. Every morning I walk from the middle of the large parking lot to my desk; it’s about the equivalent of two and a half blocks. I pass quite a few people while walking and I look at each one, in the eyes, and smile. Heck, sometimes I even say, “Good morning!” or “How are you doing?”
I have forced myself “out of my shell” in order to make others feel comfortable and maybe even happy. What do I get in return? I’ll tell you what I get. Deliberate straight-lipped faces that stare right past me, or even worse… look at me… right in face… and don’t smile or say a word! In fact, it’s like they make it a point to NOT smile. Tell me, is this normal? What did I do to them? Who spit in their Count Chocula? Perhaps they should start eating a cereal with more fiber. Many of the people may not know my name or the department in which I work, but I don’t know them either and I still smile. I even smile when I’m on the phone with customers. I just feel that it’s a nice thing to do.
Seeing smiles or even just a friendly face attached to a person who acknowledges my presence with a nod makes me happy. I would think my smile would do the same for others. Maybe the next person I encounter is hating his/her life: the pusher bot pushed the grandma down the stairs; the kids are having problems in school; four bills are past due; cable has been disconnected, and yeah the dog died too. What if I throw them a “screw you” glare like the ones I get in the morning and it is the last bad thing they can handle? That person could snap, whip out a gun, and start firing. So I feel that I’m providing a public service with each and every smile. I’m saving lives!
What do you think of this, Space?
I feel the same way, though I don’t really care if they smile. But when I make a deliberate attempt at friendly conversation, like saying, “Hey, good morning!” or “What’s up, dude?” or “Good morning, ma’am. Good grief, you have some nice boobs!” I sort of expect at least a “Good morning!” in return. But a lot of times – it’s actually scary how often – they just don’t say anything at all. It makes me suspicious of them. But then I have to remind myself that we are dealing with human beings here. Humans are a self-absorbed, forgetful, moody bunch.
So next time you smile at someone and they don’t smile back, try this: stick your tongue out at them. And when you say, “Good morning, sunshine!” and they don’t respond… just say, “OR NOT! Never mind on that! WOW!” and see what they do. I guarantee they’ll change their attitude pretty quickly.