What A Boring Old Bunch

Over the last three days I’ve been conducting my early morning walks around Sydney and the inner Eastern Suburbs of Darlinghurst and Paddington.

And boy, is the world changing….

And changing for the worse.

When I lived in Sydney’s North, I found that two walkers passing on the streets in the early morning were likely to smile and greet and acknowledge each other on about ninety percent of times.

In the country, where I live now, two walkers will ALWAYS greet each other when passing.

But this week, in the city, it seems to me that nobody acknowledges a fellow walker.



Not once.

On all three days

Why Is This So?

What have we become?

Why do people walk past each other as if the other person is not even there?

As if the other person is invisible?

Is it due to supposed “political correctness”?

Has society become fearful of any form of interaction?

Are people scared that their actions may be misinterpreted?

Are people fearful that their courteous acts of acknowledgement may be incorrectly interpreted as an invitation to something more?

Has society now become fearful of sending the wrong message to strangers?

Does society now believe that sending no message is better than sending any message, when there is a slight chance of the message of acknowledgement being incorrectly assumed as an invitation?

Here’s my advice:

Be inclusive when you are out and about.

People are not invisible.

My philosophy is that I choose to smile and wave and greet all people that I encounter.

And in rural areas, for me, that includes passing cars and drivers.

For me, I believe that every opportunity I have of greeting and acknowledging someone is an opportunity of brightening up their day.

It’s amazing how easy it is to make someone’s day right then and there with a smile.

Sending out a smile can be so uplifting for the recipient of that smile.

What’s the point of a blank face?

To me purposefully sending out a blank face is an insult.

It’s offensive.

It’s true proof that you are bothering not to notice.

Where are we headed if this behaviour becomes the norm?

What does this behaviour say about our society as we know it?

What are the implications of this behaviour in dentistry?

If you come to work for me, don’t bring a blank face.

At my Dental Practice, we always practiced and lived by the edict of the Four Foot Rule.

What Is The Four Foot Rule?

Putting it simply, the Four Foot Rule is that whenever you come within four feet of another human being you MUST acknowledge their presence with a smile, or a wave or a greeting.

Every time.

And this is a Non-negotiable.

This is a non-negotiable condition of employment.

In the dental practice, the term “human being” includes co-workers, patients, employers, family and friends of patients, and all other people.

Regular respectful acknowledgement and interaction in the workplace has many benefits.

  • It shows respect for fellow workers and customers.
  • It shows others who observe these interactions that your organisation embodies and embraces a culture of respect.
  • It reduces and eliminates timidity and shyness.
  • It builds self-esteem and self-worth.

The Four Foot Rule is an easy rule to implement in your workplace.

But it is an easy rule to NOT DO as well.

My advice is to practice the Four Foot Rule until it becomes an inherent behaviour.

You’ll be amazed at the changes that will flow into your business as a result of its implementation.


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The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple to build complete Customer Service system in itself that I developed that allowed me to create an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb. If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

Email me at david@theupe.com