The benefits of saying hi to your neighbor

August 15, 2023
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At a minimum, knowing how many neighbors someone greets on a routine basis appears to be a useful marker of their personal wellbeing.

The conclusion of a new Gallup poll that found adults who regularly greet multiple neighbors report increased wellbeing compared to those who greet less neighbors.

What to Know: The survey found that adults experience an increase in overall wellbeing when they regularly say hello to more neighbors, with "the sweet spot" being six greetings. Additionally, the survey found that greeting neighbors is "more common among older, higher-income adults" – people under age 30 reported saying hi to an average of 2.9 neighbors while people ages 65 and older reported greeting 6.5 neighbors.

Why It Matters: Regularly saying hi to others in the neighborhood was not only linked to improved social success, but also to better financial, career, physical, and community health. How so? Being neighborly may increase the likelihood of being outside and moving the body (and vice versa), can foster a sense of belonging and community, and indicates feeling safe when getting out and about (likely correlated with financial wellbeing, Gallop explains).

Worth Noting: Regarding what defines a greeting, the study author explains, “We don’t require that you know the person well, stop and chat, or even that you know their name … presumably, the more people to whom you say hello, the greater the probability is that you’re actually going to strike up a conversation with them as opposed to just wave.” As far as what defines "regular" greeting, he says, “We leave that up to the respondent to interpret, but our intent was for this to mean all the people to whom you greet whenever you see them. Some days might be zero, some days might be every one of them.”

Saying Hello Linked to Higher Wellbeing, but With Limits

Saying hello to neighbors could boost your well-being, a new survey says

by Jenna Lee,