When you’re less busy, you have more time to try and enjoy greeting people. I used to have doubts about greeting just anybody, especially when people look threatening when they see you about to approach them. Almost all of us have developed a preemptive defense system in us for self preservation. Are you the type who enjoy greeting people? And does it come naturally to you?
When I was a teenager, I used to hate greeting people, especially meeting them face to face. I just wanted to be left alone. When I walked, I often bowed my head to avoid meeting people’s gazes or smiles. I assumed threatening looks to warn anyone who would attempt to be friendly to me. Now, I often get that dosage of my own medicine. Treats me right—you reap what you sow.
But Truth Is, It’s a Must
Later, in high school and especially college where I met Jesus, I learned the importance of enjoying greeting people and doing it the natural way. It works not just for your spiritual health but also your emotional and social life. Yeah, you get trashed once in a while, and that’s okay. I understand. I was once like them.
Hating to meet or even greet people reflects an attitude problem, and attitude often has to do with something spiritual, emotional, mental, or social. Looking back now, I can’t imagine why I so hated meeting new people. I mean, my parents and siblings loved me. I had lots of peer-friends. But somehow, I saw strangers as some kind of crooks.
Spiritual, probably because you haven’t met Jesus that personally and profoundly yet. Emotional, perhaps because you experienced lots of negative events in life, and it probably involved family life. Mental because hating people is a wrong way of thinking. And social because we are social creatures and we won’t survive life well without others.
It Could Grow Worse
These are all attitudinal. Some people think refusing to greet people is simply a personal preference opted by those who simply want to be left alone—and it’s their right, actually. That it’s normal to be like that. However, left to itself, it can lead to other worse problems later—like depression and anxiety. We all need one another, that’s how we are designed by the Creator. And a good start of a healthy social life is enjoying greeting people.
When I jog early mornings, I watch street sweepers. They look so serious and a bit angry about their work. They frown. And I tell myself, what a way to start your day. I feel threatened greeting them. What if they scowl or shout at me? Well, anyway, it won’t kill me if they did, will it? So I start greeting them. And to my surprise, it changes their faces from a hard to a friendly look.
When I learned how to love people, I also started to enjoy greeting people and meeting them. Of course, I still need to be alone most times when I need to “get away from it all,” but there is a proper time for everything.
You can’t be alone all the time.
Of course, not all people are friendly or harmless. You can be shaking hands with real crooks, for all you know. My principle is to always stay alert and observant at the same time I am friendly and smiling. I watch closely how people react to my friendliness.
Make the First Move
I also learned the importance of doing it before they could. Often, I greet them first and then they respond. In case they don’t respond and ignore you, remain happy about it all. Anyway, I’m sure God saw it and will reward you.
If they do it first, you should respond gladly. Don’t just stare at them and go past—which I used to do before. Sincerely greeting folks is a sign of spiritual, mental, emotional, and social health. It feels so good to greet all joggers I meet in the neighborhood in the morning.
Remember, the more you give, the more you receive.
Image above from IrishTimes.Com.