Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Say “hello” back to me…or else
The author says she’s somewhat skeptical of a new report touting the financial benefits of saying hello to neighbors – Photo: ncdhhs.gov
I was sitting around, just feeling like, I dunno, a “listless vessel” when I read that researchers have found if you simply say “Hello” to at least five of your neighbors on a regular basis you will be rewarded with a significant boost in overall wellbeing.
According to the new study by the Gallup National Health and Well-Being Index, all this goodness even spills over into your financial wellness. I’m not sure how that works exactly. Do you say “Hello!” and then follow up with a “Please give me some money!”
And what if there isn’t anyone outside when I’m suddenly and relentlessly strolling the neighborhood for, essentially, my own selfish reasons? It has been awfully hot out.
Do I just keep walking until I accost, ideally, six to 10 neighbors with my sorta-fake joyful greetings? This could take a while and I have important work to do. OK, no I don’t.
And what if all this starts to wear thin with my neighbors? Should I be offended if they drop their pruning shears or duck down a side street when they see me approach? (“Ugh, here comes Chatty Cathy…”)
Saying hello seems almost too easy for such profound results. I imagine it’s even better if you can engage in an authentic conversation with your victims, er, neighbors so you should probably have a few icebreakers at the ready.
“Hello! How much do you pay for cable?”
No? Well, how about, “Hello! Your dog sure barks a lot. Be a shame if something were to happen to him.”
Oh, I’m just kidding. I’d never ask anyone how much they pay for cable.
Gallup discovered wellbeing peaked at greeting six neighbors while financial wellbeing hit its high point at 11-15 such interactions.
OK, which lucky 15 of y’all are going to make me richer? Don’t be shy. I’ve gotta ask you where you got your stupid birdbath. OK, need to adjust the attitude here.
I know that making me richer is so not the point. But it’s not not the point either.
The study concluded: “Adults in the United States who regularly say hello to multiple people in their neighborhood have higher wellbeing than those who greet fewer or no neighbors.”
Six is ideal so after you’ve done that, if a seventh neighbor seeks you out with a cheery greeting, you can just say: “Get outta my face. I’ve got my six.”
Too abrupt? Well, just tell them to greet you tomorrow a little earlier in the day. Say: “Can you say hello to me this time tomorrow but, like, 10 minutes earlier?”
Yeah, that’s not crazy.
One more fascinating fact: People who say hello to at least six neighbors often are more likely to be categorized as “thriving.” Less greeting and you could end up in Gallup’s other categories: “struggling” or “suffering.” Whoa. Glad they weren’t in charge of my report cards. What ever happened to “needs improvement”? Seems a little dramatic to me.
Interestingly, older folks benefit the most. Gallup research revealed older adults get a mood boost at just three hours of social time with friends or family per day while folks younger than 30 require seven hours of interaction. Seven HOURS? When do they work a job or binge “Love Island”?
It wouldn’t surprise me if these numbers changed. Remember how “they” told us to walk 10,000 steps a day for maximum health? And now “they” say 5,000 is just fine. Thanks for nothing Science.
I expect the minimum of five neighbor howdys will probably be reduced to 2.5 someday. Not sure how to find a “half a neighbor” because that has a chilling Solomon splitting the baby in half vibe to it, but I’ll work on it.
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