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Posted by Communicatorbronze Saul G in Deep Thoughts

Why people don't wave.

I have a path I run routinely through my neighborhood that I've been running for years now. There's very little foot traffic, but plenty of cars pass by while I'm on the move. I typically toss up a quick wave to the oncoming cars, especially the ones that move over to give me plenty of room. I've done this long enough now that most of the cars recognize me (I think) and are expecting my wave and wave back. 

But when I first started doing this hardly anyone ever waved back. And now if I take a different rout I'm surprised how few acknowledge me. So why is this?

My (very unscientific) observations showed that there was no demographic that was better or worse at this than another.  So to me, this behavior is an indication of our society today. I don't believe people are mean or uncaring.  It seems that people are just so guarded, so scared to open up, even with a simple wave to a stranger. "Why is that guy waving at me?  What does he want from me?"

I don't get upset with the lack of response (any more). With all the predators in this world I don't blame them. But I have decided to combat this thought process by simple offering a kind wave every chance I get. I can tell I've already broken down a few of the drivers in my neighborhooby with this simple gesture and no expectations. 

Hopefully we can get this world back to a place where people can be willing to accept kindness and offer kindness without being so guarded. 

Replies (showing 1-8 of 8)

I know exactly what you mean - I thought it was just the area I was running, glad to know it isn't site specific.  I think your observations about people being over cautious with strangers is spot on.  It isn't as though we are waving them down, but rather giving a courtesy wave to say "hey thanks for noticing me and not running me over."

Posted by Communicatorbronze Shelley H on 5 February 2014 at 3:30 AM

I gave a big wave to the driver who failed to stop at the crossing as I ran to the school with my son this morning. If he actualy stops then next time I might even wave with all four fingers ;)

Posted by Communicatorgold James (Jim) G on 5 February 2014 at 10:26 AM

I wave.....the world needs more Wavers!

Posted by Communicatorsilver Smithy . on 5 February 2014 at 12:17 PM

Same! It's always awkward when you wave to someone, and they clearly see you but they don't wave back. What kind of a wave-less society are we living in??

Posted by Communicatorsilver Bindy T on 7 February 2014 at 8:41 PM

A rude society - but I learned today that the local school is now requiring junior high kids to say Sir and Ma'am, it's a good thing.  :)

Posted by Communicatorbronze Shelley H on 9 February 2014 at 3:03 AM in reply to Bindy T

I have noticed this in my area as well. I agree with your research results. When I was young I remember my dad giving the farmer wave to all the neighbors as he drove by. I think it is a matter of being polite in a world that has become so inpolite. I taught my son to wave when he passed people as well. When I run or walk my dog or whatever activity I am doing I wave. Unlike you I have not worn down anyone, I have been waving to the same people for years and still nothing. However, I think the act of waving is more about me than them, I don't get upset either anymore. It makes me feel good to offer a wave and a smile and just maybe even if they did not respond it still made an impact. I agree lets spread the word and the sentiment. It is needed.

Posted by Communicatorgold Monica S on 13 February 2014 at 4:23 PM

Ummmm maybe its just a location thing. Nearly all runners and walkers (exercisers or dog walkers) normally give a wave, smile or 'morning' back, some even say it first. Drivers normally give space where they can and an acknowledgement always generates goodwill for the next runner they see. Others peoples miserable behaviour is their issue, not mine

Posted by Communicatorgold Kevin G on 13 February 2014 at 4:30 PM

I nod to other runners but I definitely don't wave to drivers. Their focus is on the road. If someone waves to me it should be because they know me.

Posted by Communicatorsilver Colleen O on 13 February 2014 at 4:54 PM

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