Alright, this is something I’ll never, ever understand, why don’t people smile at strangers anymore? Like what is up with that? Is smiling at somebody you don’t know bad for your health? Is it a sign of weakness, like a game of chicken, “oh look, wow, that woman smiled at me before I smiled at her” that makes the person who didn’t smile feel better, stronger than the smiler?

Honestly, what is the not smiling at strangers thing really all about? I am gobsmacked by it, since I’m not only a smiler, but I’m also a stranger talker. I have no problem striking up a conversation with you in an elevator, a line at the market, the bank, absolutely ANYWHERE. If you are there, and I am there too, chances are I will smile at you, and I will talk to you. Although I have to admit doing that in Toronto is way more embarrassing than doing the same thing in LA. In Los Angeles, I tell everybody this, I will have more shared smile exchanges with strangers, and more fulfilling casual line banter in one week of being there than I will in a month of being back home in Toronto.

When I share this with fellow Torontonians, who are my friends, they reply things such as: “well obviously more people smile and talk to you in LA, because the town is filled with a bunch of phonies” or this reply, “well they talk to you because in LA everybody is trying to be famous, and they don’t know if you might be somebody who can make that happen for them, or not.”

Really? I mean I love you, you’re my friends, but think these comments through. Everybody is a fake ass bitch in LA? Or everybody, absolutely EVERYBODY wants to be famous there?

Come on Torontonians, let’s just admit that we need to step up our friendly game. That it won’t kill you to smile at a stranger, if fact it will make you feel GOOD. And it is not weird, or strange, to strike up a brief casual conversation with a stranger. In fact it’s quite the opposite, being in very close proximity with a stranger spending your time looking at the sky, the buttons in the elevator, or your damn cellular device, and act as if there isn’t another living breathing person RIGHT THERE WITH YOU? Now that’s weird.

So, if you’re reading this post about “does smiling kill you”? I challenge you to go out there and give it a whirl today, start small just one person today, then maybe two tomorrow, and so on, and so on, until eventually you work your way up to being a stranger who has friendly banter with another stranger like me.

And then get back to me on how it makes you feel. I’m gambling on the outcome being that it makes you feel better, much, much better and it certainly will make our world a better, friendlier place too.

Love, Shantelle