Creatures of Habit
If you're like me you probably go to the same places and see many of the same faces on a daily basis. From Dunkin Donuts years back to my latest 7-11 kick, my coffee and snack obsession forms into a pretty regular shopping habit. How often do you politely say, "Howdy" before sharing your name with someone you see on a regular basis?
Today I introduced myself to Bill at Sevs (7-11 in one syllable). I decided it was time to stop saying "Heyo" (yeah I say that), and start saying "Good Morning Bill" when I stop in to load up on an iced coffee and bagel. He's usually working hard on balancing the fresh section inventory or keeping the store in order. I'd be willing to wager that the morning crew that works at the Port Jefferson 7-11 is probably one of the most efficient and effective in the nation. Even more importantly, they know how to make you feel welcome. As a customer with freakish coffee habits (I like hot coffee poured over ice filled cups), I can use all the help I can get.
Familiarity Breeds Friendship
If you see the same people on a regular basis in a positive atmosphere, you may just find yourself some new friends. From the coffee shops, friends homes, to weekly biking/walking routes we make regular visits to locations we feel comfortable at. Other people can pickup on our comfortable vibes and be at ease in our presence. You get this feeling of welcome, whenever you visit.
Some of us have intense work environments (I don't see the value in stress, never have, never will, but I don't set the standard on business conduct...yet!) so work can be a challenging place to make new friends. The truth is, there's no better creative force than folks comfortably sharing (with a splash of intense deadlines) and building together. Hours and days can slip away as they generate priceless content (Alan G. Carter and Joel Spolsky have written excellent features on gelled teams with respect to software design).
Next time you make a pitstop at your favorite home away from home, introduce yourself.