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We often look at consumers as target demographics, audiences and statistics that it’s become easy to be detached – to be so far removed from understanding and really connecting with people that businesses attempt to target. For a lot of us, passersby have become no more than mere shadows around us; as if puddles of water, we move out of the way as we approach closer to one another on the streets.

This brought us to thinking: why is it an unusual disposition for a lot of Malaysians to nod, greet, or even smile at a stranger? More importantly, why is it difficult for us? Is it because Malaysians are shy, self-conscious, sceptical of an incoming sales pitch, or just generally wary of others (given the perverts, snatch thieves, and hooligans)? Perhaps the whole mentality of ‘minding your own business’ has been so ingrained into our culture that we now safely keep to our same social circles, unenthused about saying hi to someone in public.

We wanted to move out of our comfort zones and do something to counter our apathy toward strangers – to stand against the grain of a ‘mind your own business’ culture. We pledged ourselves to spreading positivity this year and decided to not let strangers just be strangers; hence, we chose to head out to smile and say hi to passersby just to exercise positivity in its simplest form by putting a smile on peoples’ faces. Simply to connect – to be human.

Here’s how we were greeted back.



It’s fascinating what a simple gesture like smiling can do to spread smiles with total strangers. Although there were a few who ignored and walked past us, a surprising handful of people were more than happy to say hi and smile right back.

If a little smile can do so much to connect and inspire positivity amongst people, what small act of positivity can you, your business and brand do to counter a culture of strangers? What small gesture can you manage to connect people and put a smile on someone’s face? Perhaps we can’t change our culture overnight, but we can start impacting the lives of others merely by smiling at someone new every day. The world will be a less lonely place if nobody was a stranger.

At gan4hire we believe that there is no such thing as strangers, only friends we have not yet met.

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