A funny thing happened the other day when I walked past another person in the lobby of my building. We were both wearing masks, only our eyes were visible, and we had them locked on each other in a silent stare-off. A beat too late, I woke up to the moment and realized how awkward the silence was, so I blurted out, “hi!” The other masked person immediately replied in kind. And even though they weren’t visible, it was clear we both had smiles and that our greeting was friendly.

I realized after the fact that the delayed action was because this other person was doing the exact same thing I was. They were waiting to see if I was a friend or foe. They were awkwardly waiting for me to make a move, just as I was awkwardly waiting on them. What should have just naturally been a simple, friendly moment became clumsy and affected, all because of negative expectations.

The fact is that I don’t want hostile confrontations, and I’ll bet that most people don’t. So, why would I ever expect it? The brave move is to always expect a harmonious exchange, and just come out showing your friendliness, unguarded and upfront. That’s what puppies do. They’re naturally so excited to see another live being, that they always rush towards it, tail wagging. And everyone loves puppies.

There it is. I admit that I am inspired by the genius of puppies. Because puppies know just how to uplift everyone they come into contact with. If we all greeted each other with the same interest as puppies, imagine what a friendly world it would be.

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