By Dr. Synesio Lyra, Jr.
At the beginning of the decade of the 1980’s, psychologist Eric Berne published a book with an intriguing title: What Do You Say After You Say Hello. I never read the book but the title continues to stimulate a variety of thoughts in my mind about human interactions.
Many people do not know how to go beyond a “hello” to neighbors or to others who extend to them such greeting. Worse yet, several others appear incapable of even saying “hello” to fellow humans who cross their paths and with whom they could engage in meaningful exchanges.
It’s true that some people don’t have the time to enter into conversation at certain times of day. Others are too shy to engage in dialogue with someone they’re just now meeting for the first time. Some also exist who live in fear of other people and, thus, run away from any possible new contacts, preferring the security of people they supposedly already know.
No one can force other people into conformity to any communication pattern. Persons are unique, have been “fearfully and wonderfully made,” and are expected to act in accordance with their own peculiar ways of operating in the world.
At the same time, the human race is composed of social creatures, expected to interact in a variety of ways as each occupies planet earth. Some will be more outgoing than others; several will take initiative more easily than others, especially in approaching fellow humans.
Moreover, an individual is expected to live out the particular script which continues unfolding within each throughout one’s lifetime, based on heredity, learning, personal experiences, and the quality of each one’s unique personality.
In spite of the wisdom and caution which every person needs to exercise in choosing friends and distancing themselves from undesirable others, there’s much to gain when humans strive to live in peace, harmony, truly knowing those with whom they must interact – even seeking others for positive, mutual exchanges.
As the popular song affirms, “people who need people, are the luckiest people in the world.” You need not miss all the good that awaits you, coming from others. More importantly, don’t deprive other persons from the positive impact you can bring to them, by the way you take the initiative in relating to them as well!