Why I smile at Strangers

Do you make a conscious effort to smile at the people you walk by everyday or even give acknowledgment to the life around you? Think about the interactions you’ve had today. The people who made your coffee, the person who opened the door for you. The first person you talked to today. How did each person make you feel? Sometimes we are so wrapped up in our day (or our phones) we don’t feel it’s possible to look up and simply make an effort to show you see the people around us. Think about how many people you’ve interacted with today or if you were caught up in work or social media.

As I walk down the street and there is only me and one other person. I put away my phone and from about 10 feet away I smile. The woman looks like she has a lot on her mind. She glances at me, looks away, and at about 5 feet she looks back at me and smiles back. And those are those kinds of smiles that make me feel alive. It is not a smile that comes from someone giving a compliment. It is not a smile that comes from doing anything particularly special. It is a smile that comes from accepting one another. It is her and I not caring how late we may be to work, not focusing on the stresses of our lives, not caring about our differences. When we are mindful of each other that can be the start to change someones day. Whether you are receiving the smile or giving it.

Because we smiled at each other we walked past each other with positive thoughts on our mind of how strangers can be nice. When she was out of site, I thought of how she might’ve been having a really bad day but she took that one moment to smile at me.

One summer day I was walking down Somerset Street, passed the Suffolk University dorms when a man and I smiled at eachother as we began crossing the road to oposite sides. At the sidewalk island we began chatting! He asked how my day was going and I said great. He said he worked at the State House and I told him how I was in my last semester of undergrad. We talked about the beautiful weather and then he pulled banana chips out of his bag! He began eating them while we were standing their and I told him how delicious they looked. He held them out and said have some! There we were two strangers, sharing a snack, in the middle of a traffic divider, all because of a simple smile. 

You might be missing out on kindness because you are too busy and everyone is in your way. The destination isn’t the greatest part of life it’s enjoying the journey to get there so maybe it’s time to slow down and smile at a stranger.

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