I've lived in my apartment for seven years now, and getting my neighbors to say "hi" back to me is still like pulling teeth. I'm clean, I'm upstanding, I tiptoe around like a ballerina, I'm genuinely (not fakey over-the-top) friendly, and I recently went 2-for-8 in Returned Friendly Greetings. What is going on? Do you say "hi" back to your neighbors? If not, I'm intrigued and would love to hear why. Perhaps you've been burned by overzealous neighbors in the past, trapped in 20-minute conversations when you're already late for work? Or is it too weird to talk to people when you know the intimate details of their TV-watching/sex/snoring habits? Or is it shyness? Or do you wish people would just leave you alone?
I have no intentions of ceasing to say "Hi" or "Good morning" when I pass my neighbors in the hall. I am polite, dammit, and stubborn as well. I've been trying to get the security guard at my job to smile at me for two years, and I will succeed. (I did make him smile once by bringing him lemon cupcakes, but the smile wasn't directed at me so it only counts as a half-win.) Still, every time one of my neighbors just stares blankly back at me, I have a mini-crisis. Why do they hate me? Am I not welcome here? What could I possibly have done? Are they psychopaths? Should I be concerned?
Overall, it's really nothing to drive myself crazy about — I just want to understand! How do your interactions with your neighbors go? How do you wish they would go?
Tess is the pastry assistant for SFMOMA Blue Bottle Coffee, which just celebrated the release of the new cookbook, Modern Art Desserts. She is also a floral designer, embroiderer, and exclamation point enthusiast.
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