No matter what kind of day I am having, I always try to look at people and smile. Whether I am in the grocery store, the doctor’s office, or on my way to a meeting, I go out of my way to acknowledge people and say something nice. While riding my bike around my neighborhood last week, I passed by three of four people who were walking and said, “Good morning” and smiled at them. These three or four people did not even look at me, nor did they smile back.
So that is when I started thinking about a few things. I wondered why they did not smile back or even make eye contact. Are they having a bad day? Are they dealing with something stressful, or are they just so deep in thought that they did not see me? There are so many reasons that could explain. Alternatively, maybe they are just not friendly people.
Then I started thinking of the flip side. Unfortunately, I’ve lost a few people I know to suicide. I’ve also, like you lost some to sickness or tragedy. Each one of those people had a “last interaction” with someone. What if their last interaction was with someone who passed them and did not acknowledge them? What if I was someone who was contemplating suicide had someone walk by them, not make eye contact and make them feel even less valued? What if that was the breaking point for them?
I realize these are some deep thoughts and may seem a little over the top. However, by thinking more into these questions I asked myself, I know that it has made me even more aware of every interaction I have with people.
Now, I challenge you to treat every interaction you have with someone differently. You could be the last person that smiles at someone. Your smile could have a huge impact on someone’s life. You never know what someone is going through so please, be pleasant to everyone you see.