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‘Hello’ ‘Hello’ It’s not that hard!

ninga 27 September 2008 41

Is it just me or do other people find that when they are out taking a walk along one of Canberra’s many footpaths, when they pass or come across people, if they smile and say ‘hello’ they are usually ignored completely or stared at as if you had said something rude?

Even on a day like today, bright sunshine, not a cloud in the sky and every reason to be feeling cheerful with spring in the air, the majority of people you meet or pass along a footpath will not return your friendly ‘hello’ greeting.

Surely it’s not that hard, even a nod or quick smile would be SOMETHING.

Alas, I find myself becoming inclreasingly despondant until soon I will give up saying hello and do as everyone else does, stare straight ahead and ignore any attempts by passers by at being friendly.


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41 Responses to ‘Hello’ ‘Hello’ It’s not that hard!
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Madman Madman 10:37 am 29 Sep 08

I’m sorry if it was me in Macgregor… But I’m deaf – so I wouldnt be able to hear you.

BerraBoy68 BerraBoy68 10:32 am 29 Sep 08

Damn, used the wrong end quote text. Sorry for all the italics…

BerraBoy68 BerraBoy68 10:30 am 29 Sep 08

peterh said :

tylersmayhem said :

I’ve worked in Sydney and London, and I quickly noticed and adjusted to the anonymous behavior there. You put your eyes on the footpath and just walk. Keep the blinkers on and do you own thing – for some bizarre idea of self-preservation.

Agreed Peterh. I spent some time working back in the East End of London in the late 80’s and when walking home was advised by my family there not to make eye contact with most people, especially young blokes (of any racial disposition) when walking home from the pub at night.

AS for Canberra, always say ‘hi’ when walking/riding past others around the lake. I find other cyclists pretty friendly but it’s hit and miss with pedestrians. Older people are more likely to return a smile and say good morning than the younger crowd. I really think though people are just becoming more insular. Even in shops these days people just push past you without saying ‘excuse me’. I used to make sarcastic comments back to them but now I just don’t bother. It’s not worth it.

tylersmayhem tylersmayhem 10:21 am 29 Sep 08

No; I dont want to be your new best friend forever. Im just acknowledging your existence and the gloriousness of being alive at that particular moment. If you feel the same, maybe say hi back.

Exactly! Good point about non-response because of iPods etc.

peterh peterh 10:09 am 29 Sep 08

tylersmayhem said :

I’ve got a theory on this, and all those from the big cities don’t take immediate offense, as it’s not personal (I’m on a good behavior kick lately 🙂 ) I think because of the mass mobbing of folk from bigger cities like Sydney & Melbourne, they have brought the big city habits with them. I’ve worked in Sydney and London, and I quickly noticed and adjusted to the anonymous behavior there. You put your eyes on the footpath and just walk. Keep the blinkers on and do you own thing – for some bizarre idea of self-preservation.

I found this very hard to adjust to in those cities, and it’s just as hard breaking out of it now I’m back home in Canberra. I’m just putting in a lot of effort to make sure I do say “hi” to people whenever possible (just like I used to) and I find that heaps of people will say hi back on my ride to work or while walking on the weekend.

C’mon everyone, let’s start acknowledging each other more and get Canberra back more like how it was when we were kids.

back when we were kids? you never said hi to a stranger, did you?

since the fires have come through, I know most of my neighbors. We catch up at a new coffee shop in kambah for a brew and chat.

everyone i say hi to acknowledges me, even if they don’t know me.

Footloose Footloose 9:53 am 29 Sep 08

I am a big fan of the friendly ‘Good Morning!’ as I hoon past the peeps on an early walk around LBG with my son. A beautiful spring morning, with the blossoms blooming and the birds singing; it just feels like the right thing to do, particularly as there seems to be the same groups of people there on a daily basis.
I had a whinge to my husband about this issue of no reply and then thought I’d do a little experiment. One day I made a point of saying hello or good morning to every person I passed. The reponses included; the acknowledging nod, a mumbled hi, a wierd look by the ‘thin girls’, a ‘down the noser’ from the (other;) yummy mummys amid a whole bunch of silence.
At first I thought the silence was just weird/rude and put it down to people being ‘in the zone’. Then I realised that a lot of them actually had tiny little sound machines in their ears and just couldnt hear me!
I think a certain stigma exists around the random use of ‘Hello/Good Morning’. No; I dont want to be your new best friend forever. Im just acknowledging your existence and the gloriousness of being alive at that particular moment. If you feel the same, maybe say hi back.

la mente torbida la mente torbida 9:40 am 29 Sep 08

Sorry folks, I walk my dogs each morning down and around Yarralumla Bay. Everyone I run into at least say good morning…many stop and we have a chat about the weather, etc. However, now that winter is passed, there are many ‘johnny come lateleys (sic)’ that do ignore you.

Certainly the rowers are the friendliest bunch of people I have met.

Davo111 Davo111 9:22 am 29 Sep 08

tylersmayhem said :

I think because of the mass mobbing of folk from bigger cities … have brought the big city habits with them.

lol, us Sydney-siders are an unfriendly type 😉

tylersmayhem tylersmayhem 9:00 am 29 Sep 08

I’ve got a theory on this, and all those from the big cities don’t take immediate offense, as it’s not personal (I’m on a good behavior kick lately 🙂 ) I think because of the mass mobbing of folk from bigger cities like Sydney & Melbourne, they have brought the big city habits with them. I’ve worked in Sydney and London, and I quickly noticed and adjusted to the anonymous behavior there. You put your eyes on the footpath and just walk. Keep the blinkers on and do you own thing – for some bizarre idea of self-preservation.

I found this very hard to adjust to in those cities, and it’s just as hard breaking out of it now I’m back home in Canberra. I’m just putting in a lot of effort to make sure I do say “hi” to people whenever possible (just like I used to) and I find that heaps of people will say hi back on my ride to work or while walking on the weekend.

C’mon everyone, let’s start acknowledging each other more and get Canberra back more like how it was when we were kids.

ant ant 11:15 pm 28 Sep 08

I always stick my parking ticket back in the machine, where the tickets come out, if there’s no one to hand it on to. I hold open doors too, there’s always someone for whom it’s most efficient and convenient to hold the door for others, and if it’s me, I do it. It’s just common courtesy.

imarty imarty 10:00 pm 28 Sep 08

What goes around comes around, look for it and you will see it every day.
Try it if you don’t already, you might get a feeling you’ve not felt before.

Whatsup Whatsup 1:55 pm 28 Sep 08

I always pass my parking tickets on when there it worth something to someone. Last time it was to a farmer who looked like he was going to be scratching the coins together to park his old ute. The relief on his face said thanks even before he could utter the words.

I lived in Adelaide for a while where people would rush to open shop doors for me as I pushed my pram around. My first shopping trip in Canberra was memorable for struggling to get a pram through the door of a post office whilst 2 people behind me got frustrated because I took too long. It would have been much easier for them to give me a hand than to summon up the look on their faces that made them look like slapped arses.

Its about not being so self absorbed to notice that a simple act can help another. Canberra likes to think of itself as a city with a country feel. It should embrace some more of the country values if it wants to achieve this.

RuffnReady RuffnReady 1:52 pm 28 Sep 08

I think you are mistaking a societal phenomenon for a Canberra one. People are less friendly to strangers than there were a decade ago, but that’s the same everywhere you go. I think it is related to the media-driven fear-circus that surrounds us today, which people react to by ignoring and being fearful of strangers.

Also, it’s a matter of context. Do you walk along the street saying hi to everyone you see? If so, why? That is odd behaviour to start with. I am friendly and polite to people in context (ie. when there is a reason for us to interact – waiting for a bus together, etc.) and they generally return the favour, but if I went around trying to engage everyone I saw in some form of communication they’d think I was crazy and probably run away, and rightly so.

Oh, and try saying hi to someone in Sydney – it is far ruder and more aggressive than Canberra. Melbourne, OTOH, is about the friendliest place in the world.

Granny Granny 1:24 pm 28 Sep 08

I hold doors open for men and women. Most people thank me. Some don’t.

Hasdrubahl Hasdrubahl 1:19 pm 28 Sep 08

Agreed, RG. And it’s always ungrateful, nose-in-the-air type sheilas. (I don’t hold the door open for blokes).

RandomGit RandomGit 12:00 pm 28 Sep 08

I’ve never had my level of cheer to strangers go without reciprocation. It’s the people who don’t even so much as nod a thank you when you hold a door open for them that really gets me.

syriana syriana 11:43 am 28 Sep 08

is it the ‘canberra snob’ or the ‘canberra snub’?

i promise this is a serious question – i never did figure it out…

johnboy johnboy 10:31 am 28 Sep 08

Well done.

Now can we have something on topic?

Granny Granny 10:28 am 28 Sep 08

Oh, Bundy!

*chuckle*

Bundybear Bundybear 10:25 am 28 Sep 08

And yet one more time. I need a life!!

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