At a time when the world needs more hellos, today they are often few and far between. And it’s noticeable. The connection requests have slowed down. The cold emails have all but gone away. The random check-ins from contacts have all but disappeared. The inbox and voicemail are eerily silent. It’s a scientific fact that the pandemic has limited our engagement with people and has endangered our ability to just say hello, which is having a detrimental impact on our well being.
Working from home has made the random hello in the hallway impossible, the morning greeting to the bus driver non-existent and the hi-smile to the stranger when waiting for coffee few and far between.
For many, saying hello to someone, anyone – makes us feel good, even if it was for just a fleeting moment. There is science to that feeling and it has been proven that saying hello gives you confidence, and that moment of confidence often breeds optimism and hope.
Researchers looking at school performance found that just greeting students by name increases their on-task behavior. Retailers know that the faster you greet customers, the more likely they are to recommend your brand to others.
Hello is the first and everyday engagement of our most important partners. While saying hello to our spouse or even the bus driver every day seems natural, the fact is, we do not do enough of it. When was the last time you said hello to someone you did not really know? When was the last time you sent a hello email to a loose connection? Perhaps it was a connection request to “someone you should know”. How did saying hello make you feel?
Engagement is at the heart of human needs, but the funny thing about engagement is that most of us are only comfortable interacting with our most important partners: a spouse, our children, even our co-workers. For many, our insecurities take over when we know people do not always respond to our hellos. People who brush us off or do not respond make us feel unimportant. Sometimes it’s easier to wait for others to say hello to us. But saying hello gives up the opportunity to make personal connections and fulfill the need everyone has – acknowledgement.
Even if it does feel weird to do it, no one is ever offended by having a stranger say hello to them. So, why don’t we share more hellos? Not only does saying hello make you feel good, a simple hello, has the power to change your life story. You never know what conversations, connections and relationships that could ignite from a simple hello. Saying hello makes us aware of those with whom we share our space. It acknowledges that we are not alone on the planet. It affirms the presence of another human being. It reminds us that we are all connected.
What is so scary about that?
Everyday we have the opportunity, to acknowledge people. Saying hello opens the door and invites in those who may be part of our life experience. We can spread happiness and spark joy by just being a good “greeter”. Habits are catching. Your behavior may well encourage someone to behave in the same way. Your hello could change someone’s day, maybe even yours. A little nudge in the direction of friendliness and civility can only do good. And hey, you just may reconnect with someone who can change your life with a simple act of hello.
Tomorrow, challenge yourself, make an intentional attempt to let someone know they matter. Its not guaranteed that it will be reciprocated, but most likely you will find that taking that step requires a small effort that can yield a bigger and more meaningful tomorrow.