I have been in a hundred situations where I saw someone that I knew and did not exchange a greeting. This isn’t with people I know well, of course, but with those who are acquaintances or even more remotely connected than that. If I see them out in a restaurant or store, I may not interrupt them to interject a greeting unless our paths naturally meet each other.
But the other day, I was out shopping and saw a former member of the arts council where I serve. I went over to her and said hello and this led to a wonderful conversation. I learned she is just beginning to pursue a doctoral degree and so I shared my words of encouragement regarding that as we had a nice chat.
The next day, I sent her an article* I had written about tips for finishing your dissertation. She wrote back one of those warm-your-heart-and-keep messages about how she has admired me, etc.
Had I not said hello, I wouldn’t have even known that I made any impression on her at all and who knows, perhaps the article will help her persist to finish her degree.
You never know the impact you are making on people or how much your interaction can mean. My exchange was a reminder of what we do know: that the little things — even a simple greeting — can help people be inspired or blessed.
Just like in the film Jerry Maguire, you had me at hello.
–— beth triplett
*if you would like a copy, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org