Do You Greet or Retreat?

Every time you are in the physical presence of another person you have a choice to make. Will you look at them, smile and say hello. Or, as you pass will you suddenly feel an urgent need to look down to see if your shoelaces are tied?

Who do we frequently avoid recognizing with a greeting? Grocery store shoppers, those passed while walking in the park, neighbors, men and women, young with the elderly, fans in the stands at a ball game (especially fans of the other team) and even those in church pews are often examples.

In my frequent trips to my local gym, I see all kinds of reactions on display. Those most interested in avoiding contact with others seem to have a frequent and urgent need to check the laces on their sneakers as they pass others. To assure that there will be no verbal exchange, many of these same people wear earphones that may be playing music but often are turned off. That is the ultimate turnoff for me.

There seems to be another selection process on display. Some seem to greet only others who are most like themselves. Older gym members greet only other older members. The big muscle types seem comfortable striking up a conversation with only other big muscle types. And so on!

For all of us, spending even one calorie of energy in deciding who to say hello to is part of what has resulted in our being a dangerously divided society. Next time we simply must say hello.

Personal Note: I am not 100% in greeting everyone. But, I am working on getting better.


About authorbillramsey

During his forty-year professional career, Bill Ramsey wrote magazine articles and business newsletters. Now retired in the mountains of western North Carolina, he writes a blog and has published four books. Bill's 2015 collection of concise, real-life essays is titled "What Do YOU Think?" He has also written "Me Now - Who Next? (The Inspiring Story of a Traumatic Brain Injury Recovery)" and "Now That I Think About It. Bill's books and are available from and on all e-readers. See Follow Bill on Facebook at
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1 Response to Do You Greet or Retreat?

  1. Well, howdeeeeeeeeee! I often wonder what goes on in the minds of those who fail to make contact. My life has been so much richer as a result of never being reluctant to greet a stranger with a smile or a wave. I know it will come as a complete shock to you (and anyone who knows me), but that’s why I love airports. I love to engage people in conversation – even Al Sharpton. 🙂


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