Would you smile a little smile for me?

cc licensed flickr photo shared by Lel4nd

As I walked my dog Roxy this morning, I couldn’t help noticing how very few people smiled at us or said hello. One by one they’d pass us without acknowledging our existence.

Doubting whether I’d paid enough attention, I decided to carry out a small experiment and let the evidence speak for itself.

As I set out on our afternoon walk, I kept a mental tally of how many responded to my smile with a smile of their own.

The results are as follows: Out of the fifteen people we encountered, only three smiled back. This makes me wonder what prevents people from being friendly even when they don’t seem to be in threatening or intimidating circumstances.

Has the world turned into such a menacing place that we can’t bring ourselves to be receptive to another’s grin?

When exactly did we stop exhibiting joy and courtesy in favor of indifference and apathy?

Ironically, I’m certain it takes the same if not more effort to frown than to smile. As for the facial muscles we exercise, again, I think it’s an equal amount. And that’s not to mention the hideous lines on our forehead that frowning produces.

As I sadly approached my doorstep, I thought about the sour souls who had looked past me, away from me, and even fidgeted with their watch to avoid any type of eye contact.

Didn’t these folks know how at times a simple smile can make a difference in someone’s day? How someone suffering from low self-esteem is practically guaranteed a boost of self-confidence when a stranger acknowledges their presence? How another’s good mood is often times contagious?

And so amigos, in the effort to create awareness regarding the importance of battling apathy, I encourage you to smile. Smile at the hot guy standing behind you in line and notice how your step acquires pep instantly. Smile at the not so hot guy and make his day. Smile at the elderly gent in the elevator and remind him someone cares. Smile at the waiter, the mail carrier or the guy stocking shelves at the supermarket.

Smile because it’s uplifting. Smile because if feels good. Smile. Just because.

Who was the last person you smiled at and smiled back?

Can love survive with only one player in the game?

cc licensed flickr photo shared by rockmixer

How long can a relationship last when only one person is actively participating to keep it from flat lining? I dare say this is one thing many of us have asked ourselves at one point or another when we’ve found ourselves coupled with someone who’s not as vested as we are.

The question I would like answered is, what leads a person to believe that once they’ve entered the “exclusive stage”, there’s no more work to be done.

It’s ironic how some men and women will go to extreme measures to secure their beloved only to withdraw once they’ve achieved couple status. Suddenly it’s no longer necessary to work it. Instead, many of us roll over and play dead. The adrenaline rush quickly dissipates, the butterflies abandon our stomachs, and the endorphin rush goes MIA.

Like a bear going into hibernation, many of us retreat, ignorantly believing that in spite of our lack of active participation, the relationship will continue to run like a well oiled machine. Can we be any more foolish?

If life has taught me anything it’s that some activities require a dual effort. Who can say they’ve been succesful at riding a see saw, dancing a tango, or playing chess by themselves? Being in a relationship is another example of “you can’t do it yourself” type of activity. It requires equal participation from both parties if it is to be succesful.

However, the minute this ceases to exist, we have to call a code blue. A code red is close behind if the emotional absence is prolonged. Before we know it, we’re besieged with doubts of whether we should stay or go.

I have to wonder why anyone would allow their relationship to undergo such negative changes after having worked so hard to secure it in the first place.

It would appear that some are oblivious to the detrimental effect that taking a loved one for granted can have. Even worse, at times it would even seem that no matter what we do or say has little or no difference in how we continue to be treated by our significant other.

At this point, do we jump ship or stick it out? I believe we should prevent this from happening in the first place. But how? How can we ensure that our partner makes an equal amount of withdrawals and deposits in the love bank? How can we guarantee that one person isn’t left to do all the work by himself or herself? And should this happen, how long should we wait before terminating a relationship?

Personally, I believe awareness must be created in the event our partner is oblivious to our frustrations. Resentment is sure to build if we squelch our discomfort and hoping things will improve with time? Well, that’s just stupid. Unless our partner is psychic, the possibility that this will happen is zero if our mate is unaware that the problem exists.

However, there are times when even after discussing the conflict, nothing gets resolved. Time passes and we find ourselves becoming more resentful and angry. Love starts to hurt and my friends, lat time I checked, love isn’t supposed to hurt. Here’s when one has to take a step back and consider how life is too short to be lived in the company of someone who can’t be bothered.

What say you? I´d love to hear your thoughts on the subject!