Several years ago, I worked for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in a large building that housed over 400 employees. You got used to passing people without acknowledging them, or standing in a crowded elevator as if you were alone -- after all, it was the "norm".
Being from California where casual greetings between strangers is no big deal, I thought the formal attitude back East was all very silly and proved how "unfriendly" and "suspicious" people in the East were. There seemed to be an unwritten Rule that strangers were not to acknowledge one another.
If you were in the doctor's office, you knew to sit at least *one* seat away from the next person, bury your face in a magazine, and pretend you were the only one in the room. And if you didn't want people to look at you as if you were absolutely crazed, you NEVER initiated a conversation with anyone waiting in the grocery store line with you.
I hated it.
So, one day, I resolved to say "Hi!" to everyone I met and let them think what they would! I was very shocked to find that most of them would break out in a surprised smile and say "Hi!" right back at me!
Except for one woman.....
Every day, I passed her in the hallway of the ninth floor where we both worked. Every day, I would smile and say "Hi!", and every day, she totally ignored me.
When I asked about her, everyone told me to "Forget her! She's a witch! Nobody likes her and she doesn't like anybody either!"
It was tempting to follow their advice.... After all, she *was* downright unfriendly! But! I had resolved to say "Hi!" to everybody, and she *was* a person, albeit a mighty unfriendly one!
I continued smiling and greeting her every time we passed each other for A YEAR AND A HALF.... and one day, she smiled the prettiest smile at me and said, "Hi yourself!"
I about fell over!
After that, she would smile and say "Hi!" every time she saw me.
Later, we got to talking, and I discovered her to be a very warm and wonderful person. She had suffered a devastating loss and found it a trial just to come to work each day. Nobody had taken the time to get to know her -- they just assumed she was "unfriendly", "mean", and "weird" -- and she drew further and further into her shell to keep from being hurt yet again.
But then I started saying "Hi!" to her....
And wouldn't give up....
And she finally couldn't resist my friendliness. She slowly started to come out of her shell and make friends again....
Just as in the story above, we BOTH experienced tremendous growth.... and all because of a minor shift in my attitude one day.
There was a song by Seals and Croft (?) in the late 70's that I like to quote a lot, which sums it all up very nicely....
"Darling, if you want me to be...
"Closer to you?
"Get closer to me...."