As I worked more than 5 years in retail I know that customer service is a key in most cases (if not in all of them). I was literally fighting for good level customer service in my store. Even basic greeting sometimes was to much to ask from my employees. I know this is much to do with our mentality. Most of us like to be unnoticed, don't like to give or receive extra attention. So greeting complete strangers is not something that comes naturally to us.
So you can imagine my surprise when I met locals in New Zealand. The reason for my surprise wasn't just politeness and sincerity I felt.
It wasn't even the fact that I was greeted in every store I went in. People were smiling at me, saying "Hello" even if they weren't employees of any place. I even felt a little uncomfortable when random strangers on the street, shops, squares, parking lots and other places just greeted me.
In more crowded places it's not that noticeable, but as soon as you meet someone on a walking track in the woods, or on a beach, it is so different. People just started talking to me. They told me what not to miss in walking track, where to eat breakfast, what is the most suitable footwear for a concrete hike or when the famous building was built. Random things I wouldn't know If people wouldn't decide to share this information with me.
At first, I thought we just were lucky to meet the right people who gave us tips and wanted to talk. But after a while, we learned that it is just a part of the local people behavior. They just enjoy communication. They feel good after they shared tips, facts, and passions even with a complete stranger.
Most of the times it was helpful others just nice. But overall I really enjoy this behavior. Not only that! People actually are not afraid to look you in the eyes (most of the times smiling). If you walk the streets in my country most of the time people walk with a tilted head, eyes on the ground. Most of the times we try not to look on others too long, not even mention looking into eyes of people you don't know. Sometimes even acting like we didn't see someone we know just to avoid greeting and small talk. It is just the way most of the people are. Don't pay too much attention and do not attract it. Here people know how to walk with a head up, eyes wide open, a barely noticeable smile on their lips.
They will look you in the eyes, smile, say "Hello!" and share some information if they want - that is what you can expect. So I warn everyone who hates communication! ;D
After a very short time we adapted to this. We hold our heads up, smile and speak with people if we feel the need to. We have met a lot of foreign travelers too. You can see the difference from the ones just arrived in New Zealand and those who have spent several weeks here. First, they are reserved and temperate. After a while, people open up, smile more and more and come up to talk.
This is when friendships and contacts arise.
I am so grateful for the people I have met in this first month here.
Thank You For The Memories!