Photo: thedoghome.comA simple act such as walking past a stranger and giving a smile, is seen by many these days as being flirtatious. When did we reach that point when it crossed the line from being simply polite, to flirting? Nowadays, when you smile at a stranger, they look at you as if you’ve gone mad.

Where did the sense of courtesy lose its way and become a meaningless notion? No one wants to live in a world where people walk around with a frown, unwilling to give the tiniest hint of a smile. Life isn’t meant to be that sombre.

Or, in another situation, where a woman smiles at another woman, the latter gives you such a dirty look. The destructive words of “You think you’re better than me,” or “what are you laughing at,” running through her head. Unfortunately, that is the way of the insecure female species. It’s in their DNA. What’s more saddening is the fact that every girl knows, when you walk past a couple in a mall or some sort of public area, never –as in never- smile at her companion. That is instantaneous intrusion of territory and immediate grounds for conflict.

Why though? What is so harmful in an innocent smile of politeness? Recent research reveals that these simple gestures make people feel more connected (and no, not in Facebook or Twitter terms). A smile reveals happiness of whichever kind, and a smile can infect another. Someone who either had a bad day, or someone who just doesn’t have something to smile about at that particular moment. But for all you know, your smile can enlighten endless miles of darkness in that person’s life. Just that random act of kindness.

Smile at a stranger. Every day. Sometimes a smile will not come as easy and we have to put a little effort into it, but smile we shall. It doesn’t just make another person feel better, but yourself as well. Besides, it makes you more attractive in any case. No one likes a frown. If everyone could just smile at a stranger every time they walk past one, the world would not be as gloomy as it sometimes appears. There doesn’t always have to be meaning behind a smile. Sometimes it’s just that. A smile.

“A slight wrinkle in the cheek. A slight pull of the facial muscles. An upturn of the lips. A moment. Just a single moment… A smile” – Stephanie Althoff