To smile at people when I'm out walking?

(58 Posts)
TwitchyTail Thu 09-May-13 19:10:08

I've recently had a baby so after years of driving everywhere, I've started using my legs again and going for walks with said sprog. I think it's polite to briefly smile at, or otherwise acknowledge the existence of, another person if I pass them on a path when no-one else is around.

DH thinks this is intrusive, unnecessary, and a bit creepy.

Who is right?

We aren't in London, and I don't look like I'm about to assault anyone, if that makes any difference.

ArlingtonStringham Thu 09-May-13 19:10:53

Where I come from it's the norm, not creepy at all!

YANBU. I dont find a creepy. I have a man who walks his dog near me who smiles and says hi if I'm out having a cig or in a local shop. Doesn't creep me out

throckenholt Thu 09-May-13 19:12:12

um - I think it is called being human smile A smile won't do any harm - and if you see them regularly it would be very odd not at acknowledge them.

XBenedict Thu 09-May-13 19:12:23

I'm always smiling and chatting to people, you carry on. If only the world had more people that smiled smile. Congratulations on your baby btw

Shutupanddrive Thu 09-May-13 19:12:38


fluckered Thu 09-May-13 19:12:38

if i caught their eye or vice versa i would say hello but wouldnt be smiling like a mad woman either! but its nice to be nice.

DublinMammy Thu 09-May-13 19:12:39

Totally normal here in Ireland, some days they are the only adult interactions I have..... To not smile/nod/comment on the weather would be considered rude.

BackforGood Thu 09-May-13 19:12:41

Very normal to smile, nod, or pass the time of day with people whenever I am out and about.

SirBoobAlot Thu 09-May-13 19:13:53

I don't care if it creeps people out. I smile at everyone I make eye contact with. On a good day... wink

Keep smiling at people. It might make someone's day smile

I smile or nod when walking along if i catch someones eye, i engage in conversation when someone wants to chat about ds/my big fat bump smile

I'm usually pretty anti-social but i try to be friendly in my area at least grin

ryanboy Thu 09-May-13 19:15:55

In a village you say hello to everyone you pass.In a town it is regarded as pretty weird unless the person is old.

redexpat Thu 09-May-13 19:16:46

It's the norm here, along iwht a chirpy 'morning'. I did it once in greater London (temporarily forgot where I was) and got some odd stares and ONE 'good morning' back.

LadyBeagleEyes Thu 09-May-13 19:17:11

I live in a tiny village, so I know everbody and always stop and chat, it's normal.
We also have a youth hostel and a camp site, so say hello to all the visitors too.

Facebaffle Thu 09-May-13 19:18:06

It's not the done thing here.

I smile at other joggers when I'm out running and smile at other walkers when we're out in the countryside but never at anyone in the street.

I don't know where these "rules" came from smile

rambososcar Thu 09-May-13 19:22:17

Do it. It scares the crap out of people. grin

A smile, a nod, a "good morning/afternoon" is the done thing here but the closer to the city you get the more horrified your response will be!

crypes Thu 09-May-13 19:23:13

No it's not the done thing where I live either, I smile or say good morning and I have noticed how many miseries just blank me, but to be honest some look like they have the world and it's problems on their shoulders.

I'm always saying hello/good morning to people and I'm not weird, intrusive, or creepy, I'm just friendly and hate the idea that we should pretend everyone we pass is invisible.

littlewhitebag Thu 09-May-13 19:25:17

I do this when out walking my dog. Sometimes i even stop and chat with people if they want to pat the dog. It is a nice thing to do.

bigTillyMint Thu 09-May-13 19:26:28

I live I London and smile at everyone on my way to work. Most smile back and some actually speak to megrin

rainbowslollipops Thu 09-May-13 19:37:07

I think it's nice and polite which is something people lack here. A smile might brighten someone's day. And I'm pretty sure it stops you from looking like a gormless zombie when you're shattered.

Very normal. I always smile at complete strangers and make random comments like "lovely day". Some people, usually those over 70, often say how lovely it is to see someone so cheerful. smile

IsaacCox Thu 09-May-13 19:41:36

I always say good morning/afternoon/evening and smile whenever I pass people in the village, as do they. YANBU.

TwitchyTail Thu 09-May-13 19:42:31

Thanks for replies everyone! I shall carry on smiling in a very determined fashion, and tell DH he can gaze off into the middle distance if he so chooses grin

andubelievedthat Thu 09-May-13 19:54:09

I'm in ! ,always do same,keep on smiling /chating ,make this world more friendly/fun/human>down with the bum face brigade!

squoosh Thu 09-May-13 20:03:22

I'm in a city but if I walk past someone on a quietish street and catch their eye I'll always do that friendly-raised-eyebrow-semi-smile thing.

LooseyMy Thu 09-May-13 20:06:55

No I feel self conscious when passer bys look at me. I find it odd and prefer to pass unnoticed.

birdsofshore Thu 09-May-13 20:23:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

When I moved to my current town I realised I was the only be who smiled at passersby! blush I still do it, though, and most people I see have become familiar by sight and now smile back. I don't in the middle of town in the shopping centre, though.

Very normal here. I live in a village with a somewhat aging population and often stop to chat, look at dogs with Ds or have old ladies talk to him. Its nice, it makes it feel like I live in a community.

Geeklover Thu 09-May-13 20:31:45

We moved to the city when dd was 5 and thanks to her being used to saying good morning to everyone after moving from the country we got to know all our neighbours grin
Even the grumpiest ones couldn't resist her smiley good morning on the way to school and a few of them started looking out for her to give her a wave on the way to school.
We have moved again now and it's perfectly normal to pass a smile and a brief lovely/miserable day even with people you don't know.

HollyBerryBush Thu 09-May-13 20:35:21

I find London very friendly - go out of London and if you haven't got the same set of grandparents, they look at you like an alien

TwitchyTail Thu 09-May-13 20:48:36

grin at birdsofshore.

Sorry to offend Londoners blush

everlong Thu 09-May-13 20:56:34

I live in a village so to me smiling, nodding, saying hello/morning is normal, it seems rude to walk past someone without some kind of greeting.

Weegiemum Thu 09-May-13 20:58:09

Totally normal here (Glasgow).

In fact I often end up stopping and talking to total strangers!

TwinkleTits Thu 09-May-13 21:17:46

Ive lived in a city, and there I wouldnt. Didnt.

Now I live in the sticks and most people smile a d acknowledge each other.

dontquotem3 Thu 09-May-13 21:22:46

In my way of life a smile
is considered charity. Smile away smile

HerrenaHarridan Thu 09-May-13 21:38:58

grin Squoosh, the complicated nuances of human interaction, more subtle than the
" I'll go this side you go that side, oh your going that side well I'll go the other side, fuck now your going that way too and we both look silly, right ill wait to see what your doing, oh no your waiting to see what I'm doing, right I'll go this side...."

But not as subtle as the
" I really want that last sandwich, I think he might be eyeing it up too though, how many did he have? Oh he's looking the other way maybe he doesn't want that sandwich, is she eyeing up that sandwich.."

BackforGood Thu 09-May-13 21:40:27

I have to disagree with Ryanboy and Rambososcar. I've lived in a City all my life, and always greet people with a smile / nod / comment / chat.

austenozzy Thu 09-May-13 21:51:36

Totally normal here, in our village. Dog walks can last twice as long from all the stopping and chatting!

In London it's a little different (I'm from London originally). On the tube or while commuting to/from work, the most I might do or receive is a brief nod or smile or 'ta' if you hold a door open or give way on a platform or something, but seldom a chat, unless there's a shared experience like a missed bus or train or something. There's just not enough hours in the day to be civil to every stranger you pass!

The worst was when we visited Italy, however. Small riviera town (Bordighera), during the day, nobody in much of a rush. Not a single smile, nod, hello (in Italian!), nothing. Even in shops and cafes, just the bare minimum to serve and take my money. Was almost enough to spoil the holiday as everyone was so unfriendly!

Mumsyblouse Thu 09-May-13 22:20:54

Round here, perfectly normal to say 'hello' or smile when going for a walk, although I have noticed that sometimes younger people don't do this, but certainly all locals over 35 probably would! I like it, very rude to march on past hoping not to see them. But, I do change my behaviour when visiting London (after living there for years) as obviously if I did this on the Tube I would probably be considered very strange indeed. I do smile at little children though, wherever I am, I can't help it.

ZebraOwl Thu 09-May-13 22:41:33

I live in London (born & raised here too) & quite often smile politely at people while I'm out walking - if I'm in the middle of London Bridge in the rush hour I'm about getting across untrampled, if I'm walking up to the Heath & see someone coming from t'other way I'll smile politely. As I have to ask people to let me sit down on public transport I always say thank you to whoever's let me have their seat. I also say thank you if people hold doors etc. Was taught all of that is polite.

Mind you, I am more Irish than anything else. Which might be why I'm so happy to chat with strangers. Even on the Tube. Shocking, I know...

NurseRatchet Thu 09-May-13 22:46:36

I always try and smile at people. For everyone who thinks you're a loon, there will be someone who's day it makes. I smiled at an old man the other week who had people barging past like he wasn't there, and got a great big beam and a "hello dear!" for my troubles.

ManifestoMT Thu 09-May-13 22:53:54

From the north but I worked in Marlow for a bit and on my walks to work would say hello to passersby which really freaked them out.

So I used to do it loads to amuse myself.

Oooop north it's expected you nod, smile may be comment on the weather.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

topbannana Fri 10-May-13 07:48:30

YANBU! We live in a small village where the average age must be 70 smile Going anywhere at speed is nigh on impossible due to the gauntlet of cheery, smiling folk you would need to negotiate.
It's very nice but just occasionally I do wish that I could take the dog out in peace and quiet (having a new puppy has upped the level of social interaction several notches grin)

ladymariner Fri 10-May-13 08:23:15

The weirdest thing is that anyone would find it odd to be smiled at by someone.......surely it's just a nice thing to do?

MotherShipton Fri 10-May-13 08:23:37

Keep smiling smile - it's infectious - you smile they smile and they pass it on to someone else. A smile and a nice hello can lift someones day.
I always chat to little old ladies when I'm in the supermarket queue as I sometimes think I could be the only person they've spoke to all day - very sad.

Always do it here, smile, nod head, say "morning". There's a few regulars, have never exchanged names, but DD and I always stop for a quick chat when we see them.

Your thread has reminded me of something DD did about a year ago when she was 2. There was a teenage girl walking along, looking at the pavement, so we couldn't make eye contact or smile. DD darted in front of her, grinned up at her and shouted "Ello!!" Thankfully the girl thought it was funny too. blushgrin

LadyVoldemort Fri 10-May-13 08:42:41

Very normal here in the north east. DS also likes to stop everyone with a dog and help throw the ball for it. Amazing how many people are happy to stand and chat while he runs off with their dogs!

MsJupiterJones Fri 10-May-13 09:12:43

HollyBerry so true!

I'm in London and in the circumstances the OP describes, a smile or nod would definitely be normal. When I had my dog, people would often stop to talk about him (a teenage boy even told me he was cool) and now I have a buggy with a 6mo DS in it the same applies, even on the tube or in busy places people will want to look and chat or just give a smile. I think it's because there's a focus point people don't feel awkward - also of course they can't help themselves in the face of such cuteness.

funkybuddah Fri 10-May-13 09:16:47

Ive been walking a lot this year as in training and dog walkers, other walkers, runners etc all say hello and smile, I quite like it especially as its often fairly deserted, for some reason it puts me at ease that I've been acknowledged IYKWIM

DailyNameChanger Fri 10-May-13 09:22:18

I actually think it's easier to smile and say hello than do the averting gaze thing. People always say to me it always smiling, even on days I feel wretched lol so my face must just be built that way. I try to tone it down on the school run though where it is frequently met with a stony glare. Lol

LightTheLampNotTheRat Fri 10-May-13 09:22:35

Where I live in London there are plenty of smiles/nods - not unfriendly at all. But, thankfully, none of the endless weather-observations that are apparently compulsory in the village my parents live in (in Scotland). What's that all about - why the relentless weather-chat? Especially as most days it's either raining or going to rain.

lottiegarbanzo Fri 10-May-13 09:44:07

Well, there's definitely etiquette that if you're out hiking up mountains, you should say hello to people. That can be extended to short walks in the countryside, though lots of people don't and, walks in the park. Our park is quite busy, so, the only people I say hello to are the ones I pass at a similar time most days.

In the situation you describe, I think smiling is nice but saying hello demands a response, so is a bit intrusive, unless the person is already making eye contact. I don't want to have to respond to people if I'm deep in thought for example.

It's no surprise that your DHs view is different, as men do not smile as much as women and crucially, do not feel the same expectation to smile in order to look cheerful, acknowledge others, or please or placate people. They find it normal to stride about thinking about what they are doing and acknowledging others only when they have to or need something from them. There is a massive amount of social conditioning behind this.

TwitchyTail Fri 10-May-13 09:49:07

Right then I'm off on a brisk morning stroll to smile and nod and everyone with impunity. Thanks everyone! smile

TwitchyTail Fri 10-May-13 09:50:06

at everyone. Fecking brain.

poopnscoop Fri 10-May-13 12:27:17

I smile at people all the time - it's called being friendly.. and I live in London.

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