Hi. It’s such a simple word. The term has only two letters and it’s one of the most commonly used words in the human language, but the power that these two letters can have when you stop to think about it, is unbelievable. This one small word can make a world of difference in someone’s day, and you probably don’t even realize it.
Every day we see hundreds of people, whether they’re strangers, family members, or the same people we go to school with every day. Every single one of these people has a different story of their own. More often than not, the seemingly happy faces we see in the halls are struggling with different things running through their minds.
The happy-go-lucky people who are constantly smiling could really be the ones among us struggling the most with either depression, anxiety, or anything else. Take Robin Williams or Marilyn Monroe, for example. They both seemed to be very happy people who tragically ended up taking their own lives. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned this year through becoming more aware of others around me is that you never really know what someone could be going through.
Believe it or not, a simple greeting with a smile can turn someone’s day completely in a different direction, especially in high school. At this age, we’re constantly juggling issues with school, friends, and family. Plus, it’s the quintessential time for us to be discovering the kind of person we’re going to be.
We may not have to deal with taxes or finding a job that will provide sufficient income to sustain our families at this time, but being a teenager and the struggles that come along with that are a whole different ballpark. Anxiety, depression, eating disorders, competitive academics, and overall just the stresses of fitting in and finding your voice are just a few of the things that millions of young people can deal with every day.
We live in a generation where in order to get someone’s attention, we believe the best way to do that is to ignore them. The concepts of playing hard to get and just not caring seem to be extremely popular among young people and we have no problem with it. When you think about it, it really doesn’t make sense at all, but that seems to be how it’s worked out for us so far. If we like someone, there’s always a certain amount of time you have to wait to respond to them so you don’t seem interested. Interest and acknowledgment are becoming foreign terms to us which is also why a simple in-person “Hey ____!” could turn someone’s day around because it’s just so rare nowadays.
It’s hard to believe that the bare minimum greeting of just two simple letters in the hallway would have such a big impact on your day until you experience it yourself. I remember exactly when it happened to me at the beginning of sophomore year during a time where I hadn’t been in a good place mentally.
I was anti-social, sad, and unexplainably mad at the world and I distinctly remember walking through the science wing, staring at the ground trying to avoid interacting with people. Then, a girl who I’d never really talked to before said “hi” to me. Just hi. After that instance, I was so happily surprised that someone just said hi to me with a smile on their face, that the rest of my day completely turned around.
I ate all of my lunch that day, was energized at practice, went home, and was productive all because that simple greeting flipped my mood around for a period of time that ultimately impacted the rest of my day.
The moral of the story is that while it’s always important to be kind to others, but just barely going out of your way to say hey to someone you wouldn’t usually interact with can make a bigger impact than you may realize. 2021 is going to be a year to be kind to others and you can start by just saying “Hi”.