How to Say Hello

BODY: When it comes to the number of ways you can greet someone – we’re spoilt for choice. From a tentative ‘hello?’ on the phone to a firm handshake, wide smile, nod of the head, wave of the hand, warm embrace or even a kiss – there’s a myriad of ways.

And I’m sure we’ve all experienced first-hand the joy of a beautiful greeting – you know the kind, when someone looks at you, really looks at you, and offers you a genuine smile or says your name in a purposeful way. A heartfelt welcome can really transform your day.

But yet despite all of this, something is slipping away from us. A worrying global trend is slowly taking hold, particularly in Western cultures. Loneliness is claimed to be the next big health issue of our times – a greater health risk than even smoking or obesity according to research by the Brigham Young University in the US.

It’s not good news. But there is a happy flip side. We can, anyone can, turn this around. All it takes is the commitment to say hello.

Brighten up someone’s day

It’s a beautiful thing to have someone greet you warmly and snap you out of your lost lonely thoughts. It reminds you of your connection to the people and places around you and subconsciously reaffirms you are not alone. The value in greeting and acknowledging each other is increasingly vital as we trend towards single living and increased use of technology.

Some argue that online social forums help combat loneliness but research suggests the substitution of virtual hook ups over real connections is making the problem far worse. I’d be a wealthy woman if I earnt a dollar every time social media made me feel like I was missing out on something – like everyone else on the planet was having more fun.

It’s free!

Sometimes the problems of the world can seem insurmountable. You feel like you need boundless energy or millions of dollars to make the world a better place. But the best remedy for loneliness is a smile, a hug or even a simple hello. Offering a genuine human connection is a precious gift – what more can you do for someone than show you care? Yes, it’s that simple and hey, it’s free!

So make a start today. And not just your inner circle, say hi to a stranger on the bus or in the street. An unexpected greeting can be even more powerful and surprising. Sure, some people may feel a little uncomfortable with your gesture because we’ve been told not to talk to strangers for so long. But some people will love it and if they don’t, feel confident they will go away and think about that moment you shared. Hopefully, they’ll come to realise it’s a good thing.

It’s contagious

When I first met my partner, one of the things that caught my eye was the way he greeted others. We were studying together and every time he entered the classroom he made the effort to greet and acknowledge everyone in the room. It impressed me deeply and I loved watching the ritual and witnessing the effect of one simple greeting spreading goodwill throughout the class.

People like to feel included and part of something. I know I’m always uncomfortable in a group until I’ve been introduced or acknowledged. Being greeted and feeling welcomed instantly puts me at ease. So don’t underestimate its value. Make the effort to do it more often and watch the effects. You’ll be surprised by the difference it makes and it will be an instant boost to your own happiness.

So get your greet on and welcome the world. It’s amazing the impact and influence you can have with no need for money and zero planning. Be spontaneous. Metaphorically stick your head out of the window and smile.

About the author: Marina Barbaro is somewhat of a gypsy writer – roaming between projects and enjoying a spirited approach to the written word. Most recently she joined the team from a million smiles, where she will be sharing her extensive experiences travelling and living amongst different cultures. See more of her amazing work by following


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