Greetings, like waving “hello” to a stranger on a morning walk, can be so powerful that it can turn an unhappy frown into a smile!
Wave Hello To Others Next Time You’re Out
Greeting others is one of the basic functions of communication and triggers positive conversations.
It helps us connect to people at a more personal level, and you may even share a smile.
A warm, genuine, and sincere greeting can cause even a stranger to open up, break down defensive walls, and be comfortable.
Most Americans say hi to an average of five neighbors regularly, with 27% reporting greeting six or more people in their neighborhood, one survey found. However, this varied a good deal by age.
Adults younger than age 30 greeted an average of 2.9 neighbors, with only 14% greeting six or more on a regular basis. The tendency of younger generations to be on smartphones may play a role as well, he said: “People aren’t looking up saying hello, they’re just looking down at their device. I am very open to the possibility that that is a factor.”
In comparison, 41% of adults 65 and older typically spoke to an average of 6.5 neighbors or more, the survey found.
These findings, from a poll conducted May 30-June 6, 2023, are based on 4,556 U.S. adults surveyed by web as part of the Gallup Panel, a probability-based panel of about 100,000 adults across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Greetings go up pretty steadily with age. Older Americans are more likely to relocate upon retirement to a medium- or small-size town or even a rural area where opportunities to get to know neighbors would be greater.
According to an analysis of the survey data, saying hello boosts much more than a person’s mood. Regular greetings also improve a person’s physical, financial, career, and community health.
- Career wellbeing: You like what you do every day.
- Social wellbeing: You have meaningful friendships in your life.
- Financial wellbeing: You manage your money well.
- Physical wellbeing: You have energy to get things done.
- Community wellbeing: You like where you live.
Even in your worst mood, when someone greets you with a genuine smile and sincerity, most probably, you will acknowledge the greeting and respond nicely.
In 2021, a Charlotte, NC man, Luciano Rivera, was featured because of his goodwill gesture: waving at passersby. 75-year-old Rivera touched his community with a small gesture by simply waving and saying “hello.”
Psychologists have suggested that greeting a stranger with a simple “hello” can boost your mood and theirs, too. You never truly know what people are going through behind their smiles, frowns, or gazes. A short greeting and smile could be just the encouragement or positivity they need.
Those who habitually had conversations with strangers and weak ties (people you don’t know well) and simply greeting and thanking them “predicted greater life satisfaction.”
Over the last few years, there’s been a big effort underway in America and elsewhere to encourage us all to “practice kindness.” Maybe that will eventually change how greeting a stranger might be interpreted.
Social wellbeing, to which greeting neighbors is certainly related, has also been linked to faster healing, reduced stress and better engagement at work. Simply saying “good morning” or “good day,” or even a simple wave, to others can give you all that.
Happy Waving, everyone!