A friend and I were talking over the weekend about how important greetings are. Every day when I was younger, I would hop off the school bus to see my mom waving giddily at my arrival. And although I still call my dad nearly every day with nothing particularly newsworthy to say, he always greets me with a warm “Hi honey!” as if he was just hoping I’d call. I even used to have a doorman who, every morning when I would walk into the building, would exclaim, “Good morning, beauty!” or “Well hello, sunshine!” as if it had been months since seeing one another, instead of hours.
Most of us can probably picture the alternative — the husband who barely lifts his head when his wife walks in the door, the parent so attached to her iPad that she forgets to look up when her child enters the room. You can physically feel the difference, can’t you? Even though it’s such a little thing, it’s the difference between a relationship that makes one feel valued, treasured, heard, and seen — and a relationship where one feels dull, bothersome, and ignored. I kinda think of it like the puppy effect — how awesome is it to have a puppy to come home to when they rejoice with tails wagging, legs prancing, fur flying every time you walk in the door? It becomes a joy to come home.
How about you — do your eyes light up when you see loved ones? Or theirs when they see you? Since our conversation, I have been trying to make an extra concerted effort to enter every interaction with an even heartier hug, twinkling eyes, or bright voice. You can much more than see the difference it makes — you can feel it.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
– Maya Angelou