A few years ago, I wrote about how smiling and nodding or waving at strangers while running was a fun way to start the day and that once in a while, someone actually smiled back. My not-so-revolutionary discovery was that people are generally in their own cocoons and not particularly receptive to a friendly gesture, but that when they are, they're completely receptive and quite friendly in return.
In the last couple of days, I've rediscovered that principle with a twist. As I get myself used to a new routine of train commuting and working out in a big New York Sports Club gym, I'm seeing people in cocoons all over the place again. And I've started being more friendly and smiley — on the walk to the village train station, on the train platform, on the train, on the treadmill. Same reaction as before. Most people ignore, an occasional one is incredibly friendly in return.
But what I'm now noticing is that I don't care what the reaction is. It actually makes ME happier to be friendly. I'm not sure what that says about me, probably nothing more than that I'm projecting on others, but you can bet I'm going to do more of that in the future. It's much better to start and end a long day with a smile than a frown or a blank stare!