We all know that friendliness can get us a long way, but it is one of these self-evident concepts that are easily forgotten in the daily routine.
But a few days ago I came across an online article about “smiling at strangers”. I would quote it here, but I seem to have lost it, cannot find it back. Anyway, the message was simple: It is amazing how positive people respond to kindness from complete strangers, even it is just a smile. The author states he has made a habit of smiling at all people he comes accross on the street. (Probably not when stuck in a crowdy street, though.)
I think that is a nice idea, although I am sure I won’t manage to smile at really everyone. Not that the people I see in our streets are that hidous, but smiling at complete strangers does feel a bit odd, at least for me. I mean, I very often smile at small children on the street, or at their mothers when the kids are either behaving irrestiably cute or being a real challenge (in the last case the smile is meant as a boost for the mums nerves). I smile and make ‘thank you’ gestures at cars that let me cross a street (or rather at the people sitting in the cars). But smiling at someone just in passing? Not so often. So I tried it when walking back from the shops today. I did not really manage to smile at the middle aged man with the umbrella (he did look so serious – but ouch! I guess I am middle-aged too!). I did look at him in a friendly way though. The next person I came across was an elderly lady with a walking aid and a red wolly hat. This was more easy, I smiled at her, not only with my mouth but with my eyes too. She looked a bit surprised and gave me a tiny, but happy smile back.
So this is my new project then. Trying to smile more at strangers. Being really friendly to people I am interacting with – people I do not know, but who serve me my coffee at the restaurant, who hand me my bread at the bakery, these kinds of things. Which does not mean I have been unfriendly towards them so far. But I think we sometimes wear a frown without even noticing, being deep in thoughts or just living in our own world. I will try to show a happy face to the world – honestly happy, not faking.
(Which means there will be days when I cannot manage because I do feel grumpy or sick with a heavy cold or suchlike. But I will try.)
And when I am already at it, I will try to keep the impatience out of my voice when my boys are in the “we are so busy we cannot be possibly listening to any requests from mum at the moment”-mode. But that is another story.
Have a nice day full of smiles!