16 April 2013

What happened to a little smile here and there?

Why do people smile less and less these days? When I was younger I lived in a village called Gunnislake and every day that I walked home from school, or walked down to the shops with my little brother and sister to spend our 50p on sweets I would always smile and say "hello!" to whoever walked past me and they would reply with a big grin and a cheery "hello!". I got a little older and I would walk down to my friend's house and I would still pass people and smile and say "hello" I was a little less shy then so I would ask "How are you?" or I would reply with "I'm fine, thank you!" if they were to ask me. I moved to Callington and everyone was still as cheery and happy to smile as the people in Gunnislake were.

When I worked in the fruit & veg shop in the town I would always walk there and back using the same route and I would walk through an estate where mostly elderly people lived, before I got to the top of the path an old man was always sitting in his window reading his newspaper. He always saw me and so one day I decided to give him a big smile and a wave... and he waved back! He looked so pleased to have received something as simple as a wave that I did it every time I walked past. He came into the fruit and veg shop one day and said "oh! You're the lovely young lady that waves to me!" So I had a chat to him and he often visited to get his sunday veg and we would always have a pleasant little chat.. That would never have happened if I hadn't waved at him one day. When I left the fruit and veg shop and moved into Plymouth I often wondered whether someone else would wave at him too. My little sister took over from me at the shop and I made sure she waved at him whenever I was walking with her, I don't know whether she carried it on though...

Ever since i've lived in Plymouth I have noticed that people just don't smile at others much anymore. People just walk by and pretend you're not there or they stare at the ground, letting you know that they have no intention of smiling or saying "hello" to you. I often find myself smiling at anyone who will let me, just to see if there are people in the world who are willing to give me a smile back, and there are! They are usually people older than 40 though, maybe it's the youngsters who have stopped saying "hello" to people and have stopped giving someone a quick smile just to acknowledge them and to make their day a bit brighter, so the older generations are too afraid to?

It's not just Plymouth though, as first I thought it might just be that I live in a city now and people live differently? Nope! People are the same in the villages that I used to live. Maybe it's because people don't want to get to know anyone anymore? Gone are the days of  talking to each other over your garden fences, stopping for a quick chat on the pavements outside your houses, even just sparking up a conversation about the weather! Am I just old fashioned?

I think it's sad, you should always be willing to smile at someone, just as a nice little gesture to show the rest of the world that we're not all moody people, trying to go through our days with as little interaction as possible. The next time you walk past someone, just give them a little, cheery smile and if they smile back, just say a little "Hiya!" to acknowledge them. It would cheer me up if someone smiled at me so I know it would cheer someone else up too!

Maybe i'm just too much of an old lady?


  1. When I was a kid, I always used to get asked what was wrong. I was fine, just a morose-looking kid, believe it or not!

    In my town, we've never smiled or said hello to strangers. It's just not the done thing here.

    Don't worry- I'll smile at you!!! I'm not just grumpy!


    1. I hope I live in a village one day where everyone smiles at each other! Maybe it's just a Cornish thing? haha xx

  2. I'm not sure if Australia is behind the times, or what but in my hometown, I can't walk down the street without being stopped to chat by a million people. I thought that would stop once I moved to a city, but it hasn't and every time I go to the shops in Cooly I smile and wave to people and they smile and wave back. Sometimes they even initiate the smiling! It's incredible and definitely not what I expected. Even on a recent trip to Brisbane, our state capital, my friend and I were smiled at by multiple people on the street and even given free bread from the baker when we struck up a conversation with him. I definitely didn't expect the city to be so friendly, but I'm glad it is because when I'm feeling down, a smile makes the world of difference :) Maybe we should start a smiling revolution? :) xx

    1. We definitely should! Everyone should smile at at least one person a day! I want to come and live in Australia, it sounds so happy! x

  3. I think it's a Plymouth thing. Most people there are grumpy sillies. I always smile too- blatantly have smiled at you in the past haha!! Where I live people do smile at each other, but I too am guilty at the look at the floor and just get on with it thing sometimes. That said, if there is a cute boy in the vicinity you can bet your ass I'll be smiling at him! xx

  4. Yeah, where I live now everybody waves at everybody & says hi like they've known each other for ages...but I find it a bit strange 'cause its not the kinda thing that happened where I grew up haha!
    But it does brighten up my day though!



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