“Be friendly to everyone. Those who deserve it the least need it the most.” Bo Bennett

The holidays are quickly approaching and the rushing around and family and parties. Here in Montreal the lights have gone up and everything has that glitter of lights with holiday music tinkling in the air.  It can also be a stressful time of the year and I wanted to share with you a little something I’ve been doing.

In the last couple of months I have started doing something a little different when I go out shopping or for coffee.  Wherever I happen to be where there is someone serving me. I take the extra few seconds and ask them how they are.

Seems simple and most of you probably do say hello and occasionally if the salesperson is friendly will engage in a bit of conversation as you wait for your muffin or your food items are being scanned.  But to start the conversation, for me was quite a unique experience.

I’ve been in customer service or some kind for over 15 years from retail to mainly call center type jobs. I’ve spoken to thousands of people and taken more complaint calls than I want to think about. The quickest way to defuse most of those was with a bit of friendliness. In stores I always said hello but it was cursory and without much thought.

So in the last couple of months the “Hello, how are you today?” has been an action aimed with intent. And the results have been amazing. First off most of the people are surprised. There is that brief pause where they process the fact that I am looking directly at them and speaking to them aside from placing my order.

Most of them fall into one of two camps. Some smile back and answer, the interaction leaves us both with a smile.  Others look almost confused by the question. Unsure if there is something lurking behind the attention I have suddenly placed on them. My conversations never last more than those few seconds of hello how are you. Maybe followed up with a have a good day but I noticed I feel better, that happy connection to someone even for a few seconds. It reminds me to smile and stop and be in that moment of getting that much anticipated morning jolt of coffee, or waiting for the ingredients that will make my tasty dinner. Simple happy things I tend to forget in the daily grind.

It also usually puts a smile on someone else’s face. So it’s spreads a bit of happiness around. Maybe even to the guy behind me waiting for his order too. Who knows?

So I am throwing out a little challenge here. Stop, say hello, and ask how someone is doing. Make it someone who doesn’t expect that conversation and maybe spread around a few more smiles and a bit more happiness.


Happy Holidays

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