Say Hi

The best advice I ever received to improve my social life was simply this: say “hi” to people. This one habit has made me more friends, taken me on more dates and made me happier than just about any other skill I’ve worked towards. I’m often amazed at how much friendlier the world becomes once you start saying hello to people.

If This Sounds Ridiculously Simple, That’s Because It Is

Many people have a reactionary view towards life.  As Earl Nightingale put it best, “They feel as if they would be nicer to other people, only if other people were nicer towards them. What they don’t realize is that it has to start with us.” Although it would be nice if everyone you wanted to meet came and introduced themselves to you, that isn’t how the world works.

If you commit to taking the pressure off of other people, they will often be grateful for it. I’ve made friends in buildings I’ve lived in by walking around, knocking on doors to meet the neighbors. While some people might be unfriendly or rude, those people aren’t worth meeting anyways, so there’s no loss if you don’t start a great conversation.

I’ve realized that as soon as I stop following this advice. As soon as I become too self-absorbed or self-important to say hello regularly, I start missing out on opportunities. My social connections wither and I have less fun.

What If You’re Shy?

Then start small and say hi in situations you’re comfortable with. You can even start by saying hello to acquaintances you would normally ignore.  Whether you’re incredibly introverted or completely gregarious you can still improve.

Ways to Get Started

I’m not going to spin this into a long article, because doing so would be an insult to your intelligence. It isn’t difficult advice to understand, even if it’s advice we don’t often apply. Here are some ways you can get started:

  • Introduce yourself through an email to someone you’ve always wanted to meet.  What’s the worst that can happen, they won’t reply?
  • Say hello next time your in an elevator, bus or waiting in line.  They aren’t going to run away, and the only risk you have is that a conversation won’t follow (which wouldn’t have happened anyways if you didn’t speak up).
  • Phone/message someone you haven’t talked to in awhile. What, were you waiting for them to talk to you?
  • Introduce yourself at a group event. Go around and say hi to everyone.

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  • Joan

    Hi Scott,

    Yeah, saying HI is one of the easiest ways to boost your social life and you’re right, it truly is so easy.
    We all have unlimited HI’s to give out, we cannot possibly run out of them…so why do we hold them back so much? Hi’s are like positive vibes we can put out into the world. Doesn’t matter if we get them back because we have an unlimited quantity!
    Hi’s make other people feel comfortable and let them know that you’re interested in talking.
    Thanks for that article, Scott.


  • Chris

    What your article gets at, and what I think is core to boosting your social life, is “Take initiative”.

    -Approach people, don’t wait for them to come to you
    -Call or email people, don’t feel you’re bugging them somehow if you take the lead
    -Invite people out, don’t wait for them to invite you out
    -Organize an event, don’t wait for someone else to set something up
    -Find out what’s going on with your social circle or in your area, don’t wait for them to tell you
    -Join things, don’t wait for an invitation

  • ZHereford

    Good article Scott! Just a little typo – What if your shy? – What if you’re shy?

  • Scott Young

    ZHererford, yikes, you’re absolutely correct. It’s changed.

  • Manilenio

    This is a great article and it is true, some people I’ve been ignoring warm up to me once I greet them.

  • Sofi



    I don’t know other word that can describe your articles. Thanks for the inspirations.

  • mike walzman

    It is funny how we can (or I guess I should speak for myself) I can perceive that other people are stand offish or they’re not interested in talking with me when really they’re thinking the same thing. What helps me, is when I am upbeat from the get go. When I walk into a room full of people and I play the wall or don’t really talk to anyone, it becomes that much harder to let loose and be myself, but when I walk into a room with a smile and I just start to go up to people and start talking, there’s this energy that I give off which makes me more attractive for other people to want to talk to me and it allows them to feel more comfortable as well.

  • dj

    “They feel as if they would be nicer to other people, only if other people were nicer towards them.”

    Doesn’t that go against the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

  • Scott Young


    Of course, if everyone did it automatically it wouldn’t have to be made into a rule.