Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Friendly State

Whenever I go to visit my daughter in Alabama, there is always one thing that stands out, how friendly everyone there is. Almost everyone will say good morning as they walk by. If you find yourself in an elevator with others, they will strike up a conversation. If you are being served in a restaurant, the staff will go out of their way to make your experience a good one. Overall, people seem to be less angry and to not have that chip on their shoulder. So on my plane ride home, I got to wondering why. Well I am sure a part of it is learned behavior. We watch our parents and how they interact and then follow in their footsteps. I am sure part of it is habit. We are just so use to not doing it that it doesn’t occur to us anymore. Lastly, I think it has to do with a little bit of fear. Maybe we will say hi and they won’t. Maybe the other person will think we are goofy (something along those lines). I find it ironic that in Miami, we all kiss each other on the cheeks to say hello, (very personal) yet we barely mean it. You go to kiss someone in Alabama and they look at you like your crazy but when they shake your hand, they look you dead in the eyes, give you a smile and greet you like they mean it.
If we want this to change and I do, it needs to start with us. Make it a point today to say hi to people that you may have normally just passed by. Don’t purposely take the path of least resistance but seek out those around you and let them know you care about their lives. Let a car or two in front of you in traffic. Strike up a conversation with the person in line at Publix. It doesn’t matter how, who or when, just be the catalyst to making a change. You will find yourself smiling more and less apprehensive. If you take inventory at the end of the day, you will see that 99% of the reactions to you, were good ones and in fact, you will realize that the friendly state is a state of mind, not a physical location.


Mary L. said...

So good, Alex. Really!

It is sort of weird that Miami is so "unfriendly". But when you've lived here most of your life, you really don't notice it until you go somewhere else - which is what Elle is probably experiencing. It can be a sort of culture shock.

Alex said...

Thanks Mary, I really enjoy hearing that people get what I am writing. I wish more people would leave comments so eventually there could be a back and forth through the comments. Anyway, I love you and thanks again for following.

Anonymous said...

I love the way I felt when I was in Alabama. So relaxed, non hurried and welcomed!