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Room 2: Say Hello  

Room 2: Say Hello.  
A Little Tongue Goes A Long Way.

There are over 2700 ways to say hello on this planet, not counting handshakes, fist bumps, smiles, nods, winks, bows, hugs and rubbing noses. Hello. Ciao. Bonjour. Konnichi-wa. Mambo. Go ahead, pick your favorite, or do as they do in Tibet—just stick out your tongue, which for the non-Tibetan’s, is sign of respect and a simple way to send a message that you care. Hello is a good thing, or it could be a good thing. If all hellos were equal, which they’re not.

I can’t speak for the other 7 billion people on this earth, but its seems as if the art of the hello has gone the way of the personal letter. The hello has been devalued; its warmth stripped to a conversation starter. Yes, hello is a way into a room, a start on the phone, the beginning of an email, but it is a far cry from a happy tongue shot out of the mouth. 

And, as with anything we don’t put our hearts into, we eventually stop doing it all together, reserving our hellos for only the chosen few in our immediate circle. While hello is far from extinct, we no longer go out of our way to say hello anymore. In doing so, our world has gotten smaller, keeping us stuck in that same room we’re always in.

Now, if this sounds as If I’m on a soap box, pointing fingers, I am—mostly at myself. Full disclosure, I not only perfected the quick, “let’s move on” hello, but I also invented the “something in my eye” twitch, the shoelace tie, and the fake phone call, along with a dozen other ways to get out of the hello in the first place. Hello means I have to do something and, join a conversation, which if got of hand, might lead to coffee or a night out with couples. Call me a curmudgeon or plain lazy—they’re both true.  Fortunately, I’m also an optimist. I believe I can change.  So, first things first: hello to change. 

Yes…Say Hello is our Room #2.

And, while it’s not a climb Everest or take up Buddhism kind of room, it’s just as important, serving as a symbolic gesture that we’re getting off our indented couches and going out to engage the world. We’re going to meet the universe half way.  

Our aim this week is to say hello to as many different people as we can, not in a stalkerish or Fraternity brother way, but with the humility that comes when you believe everyone you meet has something to offer, that every interaction holds the potential for transformation. Hello opens us up to possibility. 

So, say hello to the world. Say hello to all those neighbors you typically ignore, to the parents of kids you don’t know, co-workers you never talk to. 

Say hello in elevators, at cross walks, checkout lines, gas stations, waiting for the light to change.

Say hello to the mailman, the homeless guy by the freeway, the box boy at the market, the teller at the bank. Make a point of going out of your way.  Start a conversation if you can.  

Right now, you are playing, practicing, experimenting, and with each hello, greasing the knobs for every other door you will encounter along the way.  And with 7 billion people on the planet, there are plenty of places to start.  So, let yourself go. Say hello. A little tongue goes a long way. 


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