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Is it currently a social taboo to say ''hello'' to strangers ?

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posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 06:50 PM
A social taboo? Not at all down here in Texas. We call it southern hospitality, but it is damn near unheard of to pass a person, and not offer a wave, nod of the head, or say hello...

Whether you know the person or not, around here you say hi.

posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 06:51 PM
I live in a relatively small town filled with bourgeoisie pigs that I've fittingly renamed "Sherwood Pork". I know that sounds fairly harsh and yes there are the exceptions but the dominant aspect of this town is everyone's self-righteous, self-serving attitude and their false sense of entitlement.

Let's put it this way - to hold the door open for a stranger is seemingly impossible for this particular town to grasp, let alone saying, "Hello" or "Thank-you". For example, I happened to be walking up to the local mall recently when I noticed a middle aged woman attempting to open the door while pushing a massive triple sized baby stroller AND holding another child in her arm. I was at a distance of about fifty feet and in that time I saw half a dozen people simply walk by, open another door for themselves and proceed without even a glance or the consideration that this woman could use 5 seconds of assistance. It didn't seem to help that this woman was obviously struggling and loudly muttering how ridiculously self-centered and self-absorbed people were. After giving a hop and skip and helping her out she expressed some gratitude and commented on how infinitely rare it is for anyone to be willing to help another person in such a BASIC way. Personally I am disgusted with the lack of human compassion this town displays. That being said, I've continued to see this happen in other capacities where nobody can hold the door, give you the time or look you in the eyes with a shred of decency.

Where does this leave lil Sherwood Pork? Who cares. I'll happily hold the door for two dozen people if it's the kind thing to do - so I'll just keep doing it and watch as the general public grows snouts and curly tails. Then when they're plump and juicy - bacon time... or something like that.

[edit on 14-8-2010 by Seleras]

posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 06:52 PM
It depends.

I do this often and get away with it, but sometimes people do frown on it
I've found the best way to go about it is to be totally genuine in your approach. Usually when I naturally say hello to strangers I come across, it's because I'm in my own naive bubble of curiosity, then just happen to notice them and it rolls right off my mouth. Strange, but most people beam at me when this happens. Something about being that lost in your thoughts that gets to people..

If it doesn't come naturally, and you're being even the least bit disingenuous, then people will often scoff at you. So basically, I don't do this unless it naturally comes out. Hard to explain. Sorry.

posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 06:53 PM
I've never met a stranger. Yes, have met some strange people but I speak to anyone that even looked my way. It's the way civilized people in the south treat people.

You can imagine the horror of my first visit to New York City, NY.
I had a great desire to get out of the car and walk down the streets. My driver was appalled. He told me not to look strangers in the eyes and do not be the first to speak.

After I concluded my business I went to New Jersey, spent the night and the next morning I finished my journey to the Canadian boarder.

The trip was not a joyful experience as I traveled. I was so happy when I headed back to the sunny south.

I made up my mind then and there that I would not be afraid to speak to people I met in other countries or the northern United States. Strangely, I found much friendlier people in Russia. Who would have thought such a thing.

Just because we live in a rude world is no excuse to be rude also.

By the way, I do know when to keep my mouth shut. In some south American countries it's best to speak only when spoken to.

May your smile never break and may you always have a kind word for a stranger.

posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 06:57 PM
I live in the suburbs between two large cities...I have two dogs but I don't have a fenced in yard so whenever the dogs have to go out, I have to put them on a leash and walk them.

Whenever I see anyone I always try to say hello and if a car passes by I wave (even at night - what the heck do I care if I can't see them due to the headlights?).

Most of the time people wave back; if they drive by quite a bit they eventually wave before I do...if you have neighbors, then wave when you see them or make some effort at small talk (of course mentioning the weather is always the simplest topic and if you’re a man talking to a woman and you sense that she’s uncomfortable then mention something about your wife or your children to try to put them at ease).

And as someone stated previously, context is important but by all means try to communicate's been my experience that it's a very rare occasion that someone won't extend a simple "hello."

My thanks to the OP ...interesting question.

posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 06:57 PM
Seems to me that it's all about the "fear" of seeing ourselves in others. In other words, we are one...a part of the other, inlacash (sp)...a reflection of one another.

In today's world many seem disrespectful of themselves, so they will be bothered when others show kindness and respect to them...

How can one trust another when they have a problem with believing and trusting in themselves?


posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 07:28 PM
Thanks everybody, for all the interesting replies.

I'm not entirely sold on the idea that it's due to population density.

I live in a relatively quiet residential area, and the instances of someone I barely know saying hello to me are as rare as they are in a more busy, built-up area.

Another interesting thing to remember is that it's very common for a stranger to greet you if they are intoxicated with alcohol !

This may suggest that a lot of people would like to acknowledge strangers, but they have too many reservations and inhibitions about doing so - until they've had a few drinks.

posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 07:54 PM
I've noticed this for awhile around here. I go walking every day and usually pass at least a few people along my route. I usually either wave or say "hey" or "how you doing?" or something to that nature. The responses vary from returning the greeting to being looked at weird like "did he just talk to me?" to completely ignoring my presence to turning their head away once they see me wave. They would rather pretend you weren't there than wave or say hi back. I don't get it.

It seems like people are becoming more and more deranged and paranoid and it never used to be that way around here. I live in a pretty quiet neighborhood that is low on crime. I wish I understood what was happening to people.

posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 08:09 PM
Here in Finland nobody really talks to people on the streets if they don't know them. It is so rare for a person to say "moi" to a stranger that they are usually considered either high, drunk, hyperactive or insane. Most commonly they are drunk.

But of course there are some of the older people who would start talking about random things at the bus stop, and I think it's kinda cool.

posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 08:20 PM
I've lived in quite a few large cities in Canada and they are all quite reserved when it comes to greeting strangers as you walk by. I'm a friendly sort and enjoy breaking the barrer of isolaton (yup, I talk to people anytime/anywhere - I'm one of those). Most people are startled to begin with but really get into the conversations.

I think people are lonely, to tell you the truth, and enjoy the opportunity to connect with others.

That being said, I wouldn't initiate a conversation with someone that I could feel bad 'vibes' off of but these instances are few and far between.

Open friendliness is becoming a rarity in my part of the world.

posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 08:37 PM
reply to post by Break

People assuming a Finn is drunk ?!
Whatever next ? A Catholic Pope ?!

Seriously, I can relate to what you say about the bus-stop situation, as that is one of the things I thought about when I was writing this thread...

A stranger from the older generation may start talking to you, but it's rare for anybody else to, even if you are one of only two people waiting at the bus-stop.

This is why I'm assuming that it was more commonplace to talk to a stranger in the 1950s and 1960s, considering that the older generation nowadays would have been growing up in that era.

posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 09:48 PM
reply to post by Sherlock Holmes

Technology may be a contributing factor. How many times have you been in conversation only to have a call or text intrude, and be happily tended to, replete with body language gestures that would seem to indicate that the call taker is brushing off the conversation that was just taking place? They seem to turn nearly 180º or slightly less, cover their phone for added privacy or to strengthen their perceptive abilities with the device...while managing to just barely keep you in the field of vision, minimum courtesy, an indicator that the call is important, anticipated, much more lucrative, or something that might even verge on avarice, or even vice.

At it's worst, it reveals a heartbroken, empty one, screaming for someone or something to fill it...NOW. This isn't my take on the whole world, mind you. I have seen it in isolated cases where it's going on right in front of you, clandestinely on the lap, while you bring an a illustration to a set of flat disc eyes. Or maybe hidden on the car seat, while driving. Once I spoke out. I had muttered: just drive...having glimpsed from my peripherals that a text was being sent/rec'd. I just could not believe the outburst that followed. It was as if there were tears, and a fist of solid fury behind them, one in each eye; I wanted to exit the car immediately. I learned so much by that one extreme case of tech enabled waywardness.

So-maybe everyone's tense, harried, trying to do as much business as possible, and who-are-you to attempt an informal albeit courteous gesture on my time? Really, fate took a smash when cellulars came along. You could be right in front of a million year instance, anywhere, at any time, but chances are the satellite call would assume the role, envelop it, devour it, maybe even unfairly, by using tricked out modulated signals; at the very least, it always threatens to intervene! It's a soul asymptote. All the indicators are that it is somehow spiritual because airwaves are used, rising, but climbing against, after all, a wall. You can soul mate search in your sweat suit while texting. Maybe later put on a show. Business can be done this way as well. Interpersonal relations are displaced. It's a new toy, and it's less common in rural areas.

Just my thoughts.

posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 09:50 PM
I talk to people, I don't care, what are they going to do shoot me, maybe, I never talk to young girls, unless they are about be run over or something, and seldom young boys for same reason, someone would think you were a pervert or something.
People are strange now adays, they are afraid I think, I just smile and say Hi, or hello, but it seems most people are afraid and I don't blame tham, while I would be the person that would save them or help them, maybe from the other person that cause them need to be saved.

To many people are afraid and lost in this place , the good ones and the bad ones.

Thomas Jefferson said " If someone says they want to help you, run like Hell"

I only help if, they are in process, or already have fallen, like the boy scout helping the old lady across the street, and she pulls up her cane and starts to beat the hell out of him, because she's going the other direction.

posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 09:55 PM
I am from the UK too, I live between two very different areas on the very edge of the extremely rich and privileged Hampstead in London, and the extremely deprived and poor Chalk farm area where there is a lot of gang activity etc.

I remember having two very good examples of my preconceptions of people shattered during my time of living here, once when I was in a very well off, antiques market I approached a stall holder with a huge grim, said "Hi" in my friendliest most non aggressive tone, and her immediate reaction was to say "can you please move away from my stall" and treat me in an awful way.

Another time a whole gang of teenagers approached me in a really swaggering and aggressive way in Chalk farm and I said "Hi" to them and one of them came up to me and sheepishly asked "Mate, where did you get your hair done, it looks buff"

I think if you are the kind of person that likes to just say hello to random people on the street like me then you should just do it, you never know what kind of reaction your going to get, but it's better then just conforming to the crowd and being scared to speak.

posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 10:01 PM
I live in a rural area in Kentucky. It would seem weird to NOT greet others while passing by. I live close to a small city where I shop and pass through going to other places. There, it's different. Some people are quite friendly and wave or nod or say hello, and others just ignore me. Especially the few Muslim women who live in that town. I don't hear a peep from them, not even when I hold the door open for them to enter or exit the post office, store, whatever. Old ladies love me
because I have this habit of holding doors for them or helping them if they are carrying a bulky item. Apparantly this was more common years ago, because sometimes they remark that there are few gentlemen around anymore.

No matter. anyone I get close to gets a hello or some sort of acknowledgement from me. It's just my nature.

I've discovered I've become "one of those people", too. I can strike up a conversation with just about anybody who will take a moment to chat. Obviously some people aren't comfortable in that situation and I don't push them to chat. But I have had some interesting conversations with complete strangers and I enjoy it.

I go on exploring trips from time to time, just for the joy of being to new places and meeting new people. I tend to remain south of the Mason-Dixon line, though. Generally, in my opinion from my experiences, folks are easier to approach and strike up conversations with in the south. Maybe not so much in a big city, but along the highways and byways in rural areas, I'm more likely to have a good time talking with a stranger, and learning some interesting local lore.

However, anywhere in the U.S., a stop in a bar will surely lead to a conversation. Sometimes I have wished I actually didn't accept that drink from that guy or gal.
Some people just don't know when to stop talking.
Especially if they are drunk.

posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 10:15 PM

Originally posted by TheImmaculateD1
Recently I was at Target and bought a 2 pack of Hot Wheels Mainline Cars for one car and walked up to 2 parents and tried to give them the car I didn't want and detected a sense of hostility and got the feeling like I had just robbed them or something (I do not rob from people), it was weird. I couldn't use the other car so I figured why not spread the fun to someone else.

I know what you mean! I always get a kids meal when I get McDonald's or BK and I always give the toy to a kid in the restaurant. Sometimes parents look at me funny like I am gonna kidnap their kid or something. I just tell them that I don't have a need for it and I don't want to toss it. I always ask if they mind I give it to their child, they always say yes. I get the kids meal because it's the perfect size meal for me and that is it.

OP I was raised to smile or say hi to people who look at you. I have never really been uncomfortable when a stranger says hello to ne. My mother couldn't get my sister and I to shut up and not talk to everyone we met
while we were growing up lol...I have had people look at me funny or get all weird on me when I say hi or good morning. I use to run a lot and when I passed another runner I said hi, most ignored me or looked at me funny.

I do think the times are to blame honestly. People seem to be more afraid of others than I ever remember. So many things are different from when I was a kid and I am only 31. I remember my mom complaining about the SAME things I do now when she was my age when I was little and the same goes for my grandparents. Now a days people seem to be more cautious of others. I remember when we never had to worry about locking your doors, my mother NEVER took her keys out of her car. They were always in the ignition! I personally thought she was nuts...We had nothing to worry about and everyone said hi to one another and if you didn't it was considered rude.

I remember being in Elementary school, we always stopped at this elderly couples home on the way home and they gave us cookies or circus peanuts the marshmallow orange candies...mmmm I will never forget those people. They loved having kids stop by, now a days that would never happen, they would be labeled pedophiles or something. The times are different and it makes me wonder how it will be 20 years from now...Kind of makes me rethink having kids.

I don't think there is anything wrong or weird about someone saying hi. Yes some might be creeps about it but does that mean you should fear everyone??

posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 10:33 PM
Here in the Great White North, I have to walk my dog (avatar over there on the left) three times a day, and so encounter a lot of strangers on the sidewalks or trails. To a one, it is expected that a greeting is exchanged, even though I have the tendency to look at my feet as I'm walking. When I meet someone, it's always "hello" or "good evening", initiated by me or the other, 100% of the time.

posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 11:10 PM
Dogs are a great social leveler,who could be grumpy with a lovely fluffy creature like that

posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 11:15 PM
reply to post by davespanners

I live in a big city. I avoid contact with strangers as much as possible in general. When I do have contact with strangers I like it to be brief, polite, and professional. If somebody comes up to me out of the blue and tries to speak to me I would automatically assume I am being hustled for something and I wouldn't respond back. Unless it seemed like somebody in true distress, etc. Even in that situation I would be very wary. I think that's just the way it is around here at least.

posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 11:43 PM
I noticed this same thing! Im a very friendly person and try to say Hello to everyone I pass, and alot of the time I get a very awkward look or they completely ignore it.

Very few people say Hello to one other these days in passing. Its quite strange and just doesn't feel right. Were all in this world together so hello to your fellow human being.

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