We go about our lives, for the most part, in zombie-like autopilot. This is painfully obvious when you’re out running errands. From the coffee shop to the dry cleaners to the convenience store; you may interact with as many as half a dozen people while you’re taking care of the more mundane aspects of your existence.
These people could be replaced with machines and you might even be happy with that because you’re just looking to get everything on your list done quickly and efficiently. Your todo list is a series of transactions, and that’s how we treat them. People? Yeah, we might run into one or two of them along the way, but interacting with people is not the intention.
Maybe it was the snobby setting, but I’ve seen some people totally neglect eye contact with the person who is providing them with a product or service.
I’ve heard the “it’s not my/your job to be your/my friend”, but talk to these people and it may give you a sense of well-being when you realize “hey, this thing is a person, like me!” I’m not saying you need to have a long-winded conversation and walk out with a new bestie, but just a little exchange can go a long way in making you and them feel better.
When I go up to a cash register and the person behind the machine asks me how I am, I give a short, original response and ask them how they are, too. It gets a smile more often than not and hey, maybe that person needed it. See, it doesn’t have to be annoying small-talk, just something sincere.