Smile, really? I saw this sign while out walking a few days ago. I think I’ve seen versions of it before, but this was pretty bold. It is common to see notices of “no trespassing”, “no soliciting”, or “private property”, both on corporate and truly “private” property – people’s houses. And I understand that people are concerned about people breaking into their homes or businesses. And if there has been a history of break-in’s then people would be motivated by setting up security.

But how many times do you see “welcome” signs? We have a neighbor who has one on their front door and I think it’s cool. These neighbors have also reached out to invite us over a few times when they barbeque. Our patio is right above theirs and we got talking one day. They say they regularly do it and love company. We take a dish to share and have a great time. Seems like a lot of time we all only get to know our neighbors when their kids are too rambunctious or stereo is loud. I’m glad we have gotten to know some of our neighbors and that they are welcoming.

Is this business trying to take the edge off their “security” warning sign, or just being facetious? Do we do similar things when we keep our guard up too much or automatically fear encounters with others? It is interesting when I go on my morning walks and encounter other walkers, joggers, bicyclists or (occasionally) inline skaters. Most people will smile, some will wave, some will say hello, but some will stone-facedly just walk run by. It is sad that people will ignore you, but I get real pleasure out of the wavers and “hello’s”

One of my regular stops in the week is at the Starbucks in our neighborhood. The baristas are all very friendly and welcoming. One in particular lets out a loud “good morning!” when I come in, and then an equally loud “bye!” when I leave. She is so enthusiastic, and I know I am not the only one who gets this treatment. Next time I am in I will have to catch her name and find a way to pass on a comment to management.

And that is what I will leave you with. Try daily to make someone’s life better, more pleasant, by being in contact. And don’t forget to thank others for the pleasure of their company. Don’t restrict your smiles for the surveillance camera, share them around wherever you are and see if you can generate smiles in return. Smile – really!