As marathon fanatics, my husband and I often find ourselves out and about at the crack of dawn and frequently cross paths with other early birders, be it fellow runners, walkers or doggie owners. Being from Yorkshire, our natural inclination is to say “Hello”, which might seem a small and simple gesture, but it holds a significant amount of power, both socially and emotionally.
It’s surprising therefore, how many people simply don’t respond. Especially in London
Saying “hello” is often the first step in establishing a connection with another person. It opens the door for communication and interaction. It shows that you’re acknowledging the presence of someone and are open to engaging with them. Given it’s often just after dawn, and in the UK at least, often not that warm and sunny, especially on a wet Wednesday in October, it never ceases to surprise us how many people choose to ignore an invitation to engage with other equally mad fitness enthusiasts.
In business, a friendly “hello” can set a positive tone for an interaction. It can create a warm and welcoming atmosphere, making the other person feel valued and appreciated. It’s a common icebreaker. It helps in starting conversations, especially in situations where you might not know the other person well or at all. And it paves the way for further dialogue.
So, why in the running community, is it oft greeted with silence?
Is it simply the desire to experience the loneliness of the long distance runner? Is it a need to break free from the noise of everyday life, the one time in the day, where runners can switch off from life’s pressures?
Saying “hello” is recognised globally as a basic social courtesy. It demonstrates respect for others and their presence. Failing to acknowledge someone with a greeting might come across as rude or dismissive, and yet when running, many choose to adopt this gait.
I understand that in the South, folk tend to be less responsive than their Northern counterparts – try running in Yorkshire and getting anywhere without multiple “Now-then’s”, “Aye-up” and “Mornin’s” – but why has this stereotyped construct embedded itself into the running community “darn-sarf” too?
Giving or receiving a friendly greeting can instantly boost your mood
By saying “hello,” you’re including others in your social sphere. It can make them feel seen and acknowledged, which can have a positive impact on their overall emotional state. And in turn it can help prevent feelings of isolation and loneliness.
It feels our moral obligation to keep chipping away, to keep raising our eye’s to meet an others and offer a moment of human engagement and positive emotion between strangers.
Perhaps this will be the only “Hello” that person receives all day – the only human contact they will be met with
Over time, consistently saying “hello” and engaging in a friendly moment of engagement surely can only help create a happier more engaged world?
It can lay the foundation for deeper connections and friendships – indeed, one lady who we said “Hello” to every day throughout the covid lockdown years, who averted her eyes for nigh on nine-months before one morning nodding a reply, now actively stops to say “Hello” and if one of us is out on our own, asks if the other one is OK…
…a small act of kindness transformed to a genuine empathy and care for others
In a world that’s increasingly digital, a simple “hello” can bring a human touch to interactions. It reminds us that there’s a real person behind the screen or the words.
Surely in running there has to be more to life than Strava Kudos or an Instagram Like?
Saying “hello” is a small gesture with the power to establish connections, improve moods, and remind each other that in a world of eight-billion others, we all have the power to connect.
So next time you’re out running, maybe meet that (likely Northerners) gaze and at first nod and as time progresses, brave yourself to say Hello… you may just be surprised at how much happier you feel in yourself.
It’s why at Hello Finch, we start every every email, every proposal, with a simple Hello…
Hello Finch. Listening Intelligently.