Outside my building there's always a phalanx of befuddled delivery guys who seem relieved when you walk out, so they can get in. Inside, the place is stuffed with the goodies they bring: Amazon Prime boxes sitting outside doors, evidence of the tangible, quotidian needs that are being serviced by the web. The humans who live there, though, I mostly never see. And even when I do, there seems to be a tacit agreement among residents to not talk to one another. I floated a few "hi's" in the elevator when I first moved in, but in return I got the monosyllabic, no-eye-contact mumble. It was clear: Lady, this is not that kind of building.
The truth is, yes, even "hello" can feel like an unwelcome demand.
Wherever there's a system, an established order, someone will have an incentive to uphold it. And someone else will have equal incentive to break it.
Elizabeth Dunn And Michael Norton:
Simply acknowledging strangers on the street may alleviate their existential angst; and being acknowledged by others might do the same for us.
When we walk down the street, we can refuse to accept a world where people look at one another as though through air. When we talk to strangers, we stand to gain much more than the "me time" we might lose.
Being kind turns out to be a long term strategy for maximizing impact.
Don't just not be evil. Be good.