OPINION: A smile can go a mile

Peter FiorenzaGeraldton Guardian
Peter Fiorenza
Camera IconPeter Fiorenza

It doesn’t hurt to say G’day.

As mentioned in this column, I have recently started walking along our beautiful foreshore on a regular basis.

In fact, I really look forward to it — a bit of a chat with friends, while we look at some great scenery.

Also, it’s an opportunity to see others out and about — sometimes stopping for a quick talk, and other times, just nodding, or saying a simple hello.

More and more often though, I find I am subjected to a bit of cold-shoulder attitude.

What do I mean by that?

Don’t get me wrong, there are quite a few who acknowledge me, but more regularly when I motion to say hello or, even as I’m approaching someone, they look down or look away from me.

There are times when I actually say hello and receive no response at all, knowing full well the person heard me.

You might suggest that I need to harden up a bit, and I admit that I am a bit of a softie, yet I reckon if someone has gone to the trouble of greeting you, you should at least reciprocate with a smile or a nod.

You know, it’s not a hard gesture, and could be something that lifts a person on that day and makes them feel better about themselves.

It would seem that many people today have got so involved in their individual lives that they have become insular.

I was recently having breakfast at a hotel in the metro area.

A beautiful buffet was set up, but despite the fact that guests were sitting and eating in proximity, there was minimal interaction.

It seemed as though most patrons were either working on their laptops, or messaging on their phones in between bites.

Ironically, the most audible voice in the area was a middle-aged man, who was chatting with his wife via Bluetooth.

And it would seem this ignorance is more apparent the bigger a town or city.

I remember being in London with a family member a few years ago.

“I really like the place, Pete, but isn’t funny how no one talks to you?” she quizzed.

I recall a eulogy about a friend of mine, who died several years ago at a relatively young age.

One of his sons said his dad always told him he should always greet everyone you come across with a smile and a simple “hello”.

And that has resonated with me.

After all, they say, it takes more muscles to smile than to frown.

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