Being hospitable…a lost tradition?

My thought today is about people being hospitable and friendly.

Years ago, people used to smile and even say hello to others they would pass by on the street. Today, I find that we rarely do this anymore. I wonder if a person’s demographic location has anything to do with this? It seems as though it’s becoming a forgotten tradition to be friendly and acknowledge each other as we go about our daily lives.

Growing up as a kid, I lived in Detroit until the mid 70’s. My parents bought an old “fixer-upper” and we moved to a little suburb outside of Detroit. I can’t really ever recall taking walks in my neighborhood in Detroit. That city doesn’t encourage friendliness or a sence of community. Once we moved to the suburbs, I still can’t ever recall people ever waving or nodding their heads at us and saying “hello” when we passed by on the street or in a store. I wonder if this is just something we don’t do in Michigan?

I really began to question this when my husband and I drove from Michigan to Colorado on our honeymoon. While we were driving down a country road in Colorado, I noticed that many drivers would wave at us and nod their heads as they passed by us. It was such a friendly gesture that I wasn’t used to. I was puzzled and asked my husband why they were doing that? I wondered if they thought they knew us?

My husband explained they were just being friendly. He said that’s what folks do out west. He knew this because he was born here in Michigan, but his family moved out west when he was young. He was lucky enough to live and grow up in places like Arizona, Colorado, Texas and Oklahoma.

Once we returned to Michigan, it became so real to me how different we act toward each other. It almost seemed like everyone here in Michigan was being just plain rude.

Even today, as I take walks in my own neighborhood, I try to look people in the eye and smile. Some people will make eye contact with me and maybe smile back…but most people don’t. They just stare straight ahead or are busy playing with their smartphone and don’t acknowledge that I am walking by.

What’s happened to our society? Is being friendly, a thing of the past? I really hope that by just looking someone in the eye and saying hello, that I can make a small change and help to bring back the tradition of being friendly and hospitable.


One thought on “Being hospitable…a lost tradition?

  1. Hi Claudine,

    Yes, you have identified culture as being a factor. Apart from that, the hectic lifestyle, SMS-texting, smartphones and the sheer number of people passing by in a busy city are all factors. In general, the larger the population, the more anonymous the individuals become.

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