Yesterday Susanne and I went into a place just “looking” and as we entered the establishment we were met by a smiling young man, who greeted us with this statement: “We have been waiting for you!” He had no idea that we were coming, we barely knew we were coming. For whatever reason, it caught me off guard, and I not only smiled but laughed out loud. I told him that his statement was one of the best opening lines I had heard from a salesperson. We did spend more time with him than we would have anticipated. I know he heard that greeting from another salesperson or from a training seminar, yet in a corny sort of way, it did make us feel welcomed. It was his voice and smile combined that were impressive.
It got me thinking, how welcoming am I? Do I treat people like someone I was waiting for, or as an intrusion? How different would interactions be if like my new friend Paul I communicated excitement, anticipation, and warmth? In a world that at times can seem quite unfriendly and unkind what if I consciously and intentionally sought to communicate warmth and friendliness? We have spent time this year in both Illinois and Florida. I have a very simple experiment. As I walk our dog Roscoe I wave at the cars passing us on our walk. Palos Heights Illinois and Bradenton Florida. The verdict? The neighborhood in Palos Heights is much more responsive. Everyone waves and most smile. In Bradenton, the people walking smile and speak, the drivers about fifty percent. So, believe it or not, our Illinois neighborhood seems more friendly. I know it is not exactly scientific. I am sure the people who pass us while driving and do not acknowledge our waving are not unfriendly. More than likely they are distracted, focused on the road, or have a thousand other reasons for not responding to our gesture.
How about me? Am I distracted at times by the issues of life that I do not notice the people around me? Friendliness in and of itself will not solve all the world’s problems. But never underestimate the power of a smile, simple greeting, or kind word. Often, it is not the big things that make a difference but the seemingly insignificant such as nodding, making eye contact, acknowledging their presence, and a simple sincere greeting that brings a smile to someone’s face.
Why not try this upcoming week to express appreciation and kindness to the people we come in contact with and see what difference it may make not only in their lives but ours? I leave you with a verse from the Bible:
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV
Have a great and blessed week, and I will be waiting for you!