When you are walking along the street, and meet someone you don’t know, or know a little, do you smile, or head down walk on by? I’ve lived in places where the norm is one or the other. Usually, the greater the number of people, the less they interact with each other. I feel better, warmer, when I am able to exchange a smile and a pleasantry, rather than walking by unacknowledged. It’s nice to have the human connection.
How do you feel when a stranger offers you a smile, or a kind word? I remember a time, I was feeling low, unappreciated, invisible, a kind word from a stranger changed my day.
My life was very busy with work and study. I didn’t have time for a social life, and wasn’t getting enough sleep (I wouldn’t recommend it as a lifestyle choice!!). I had had a particularly bad day. On the way home, I stopped in at a shop. When saying goodbye, the young shop assistant helping me said “Have a good day”. Having worked in a similar position previously, I knew this was the stock standard end of transaction greeting. What I hadn’t previously understood was that it could actually have a massive positive effect on someone who needed it. Feeling seen for the first time that day, I felt much better as I continued home.
I was at a wedding, a number of years ago. The table I was seated at was almost full, and conversation was flowing freely. I glanced over and noticed that only one person had arrived at the table next to us. The lone person seated at the table looked uncomfortable, and I imagined, rather lonely. I approached her and asked her to join our table until her friends arrived. Which she gratefully did. We chatted until her friends arrived. We both had a lovely evening and as we were leaving she approached me to thank me for including her. She said it had made her feel much more comfortable settling into the event.
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
This is one of my favourite quotes.
We associate different people with different feelings. While seeing one person approaching us, may promote feelings of happiness; others will promote a feeling of dread. We may not immediately remember why we feel this way, but the feeling is prominent.