The Appreciation Factor

All things Appreciation: Things to Appreciate and the Ways we look at, Show and Think about Appreciation.

What’s in a Hello, Howdy, Wave, or A Smile – It’s All That’s Needed


As many of my followers and some visitors know, I’m on an exercise kick (186 days as of this post — looks like I am going to get to 200. Read more about it here.) As of late, I’ve been making this Hihappen remotely, and unlike at home, I see many more people out on the road. However, what I thought would happen has not.

Most people I pass on the road simply don’t all say “hi” or acknowledge me, their fellow walker/runner. What?!  I was so surprised.  This, what I almost think of as a phenomenon, got me thinking – Why don’t we always acknowledge strangers?

I think that in this day and age, and especially with today being the anniversary of 9/11 which reminds us that it can all change in a moment, that the simplest kindness can go a long way.  I’d also like to think that deep down we really all do appreciate our fellow-man – whether we always agree with one another or not.



Saying “Hi,” and I’m not even saying that you have to say more than that if you are shy, would go a long way.  I find that when I’m sharing that exercise/quest for better health journey with the strangers on the road, that the “hello” or even a acknowledging wave and smile makes me feel good.  More often than not, I get a smile on my face – or I try to if I’m going up a steep hill.  (This is also when I may wave with a smile (if I can) instead of saying “hello” as I’m out of breath!)



You might need to be first

I will note that I sort of tested the who goes first approach.  I found that if I didn’t initiate it, more often than not, the other person/people did not do or say anything.  I get it we’re absorbed in our thoughts or we’re walking with a friend and deep in discussion.  But I really hope it’s not that so many of us are too used to digital conversations (e.g., texting, snapchats, emails etc..) that the human one-on-one interaction has gone by-the-wayside or failed us.

Regardless, I think we should rethink just passing someone by and do the smile and wave or say “hello.”






So I’d like to ask The Appreciation Factor followers and visitors to take the time to wave, smile or say “hi” when you pass a stranger on the road, especially if you’re doing the same thing, like exercising or walking with a friend. If speaking is too much, try a wave and a smile.  Again, I do get this may not feel comfortable, but you may just be surprised at the results. I truly believe that you may feel a little spark of happiness, or encouragement to improve on the task at hand, or simply just feel acknowledged as a worthy human being. (Hey all of us could use THAT boost now and then.)

** I also understand that as a single woman, late at night these tactics may not be wise, but let’s start with the daytime.    I’d love to hear your results and thoughts on this.



Are you up for my Hello challenge?
Do you already say “hi” or wave when you pass someone by?

3 thoughts on “What’s in a Hello, Howdy, Wave, or A Smile – It’s All That’s Needed

  1. Just an update: So I’ve been following my own challenge and saying “hi”, waving, smiling, saying “good morning/afternoon evening” now that I’m back home. I’ve been a little surprised at the responses. Many give me a scowl or bewildered look – as if they are asking why I’m talking to them! Some do smile and return the greeting, but this, should I say “negative” response is puzzling. Sunday morning I even had one 30-something avert his eyes as I was coming upon him on the sidewalk. Usually there’s a visual acknowledgement, even if no verbal one made. This seemed purposeful.

    Am I jaded? Are we really becoming leery of friendliness or the outward gestures (again friendly) of strangers? I thought I seemed disarming – I’m in work out gear but nothing at all revealing/out of the ordinary and as of late walking vs. a running looking for sidewalk space.

    I’ll continue on of course and hope things improve. Perhaps I can be that change that it’s not all “stranger danger!”

    Is anyone else experiencing any negative or unexpected responses? I’m curious.


  2. A couple of observations: I walk daily with my dog, and we usually take the same route or routes so people are used to seeing us pass by each day and drop some of their inhibitions about saying “hi” or waving. Even many of the people in cars will wave to us. I’ve always smiled and mouthed or spoken “hello” to people we pass, and you’re right that some people don’t respond. However, once neighborhood people get used to seeing you, they’ll probably let down some of the barriers. Just, please, be careful about nighttime walks/runs, especially in a city — not a good time for a wave and loud “hi” in my experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the boost of confidence Pam – it’s been disheartening when they look at me as if I have ill will.
      At night NO! I also hope others are not trying this challenge in the dark. Definitely not a safe option.
      Thanks for your comments! Enjoy your walks!


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