Greeting Your Neighbors is Good for Your Wellbeing

Saying hello to six people offers the most benefits.


Saying hello to neighbor on the street is good for your wellbeing.

(Ekateryna Zubal /

In small towns, people are used to saying hello to their neighbors in local stores, sidewalks, and from front porches. In today’s urban life, you may feel uncomfortable speaking to people in the Starbuck’s line that you do not know well, if at all.

But greeting your neighbors is actually good for you. Especially if you say hello to six people, according to the global analytics firm Gallup.

Why is six the magic number?
Saying hello to people is linked to increased wellbeing but six is the magic number. The wellbeing score increases at a steady rate from zero to six and then there are no further increases. These results were part of the Gallup National Health and Well-Being Index which studied overall wellbeing and was calculated on a scale of zero to 100.

The survey was conducted from May 30 to June 6, 2023 and was based on the answers

from 4,556 Americans. Five aspects were explored: career wellbeing, social wellbeing, financial wellbeing, physical wellbeing, and community wellbeing.

People who said they didn’t say hello to anyone in their neighborhood scored a 51.5 on the index, according to The Hill.  People who greeted six neighbors had a score of 64.1. But the amounts varied by age with older Americans being the friendliest.

While greeting was not actually defined as whether it is a wave, nod, saying good morning, or an actual conversation, the likelihood is that a conversation could occur, Dan Witters, research director for the Gallup National Health and Well-Being Index told CNN Health.

“We don’t require that you know the person well, stop and chat, or even that you know their name,” he said; “[but] presumably, the more people to whom you say hello, the greater the probability is that you’re actually going to strike up a conversation with them as opposed to just wave.”

Greeting neighbors crosses categories
While you would expect saying hello to neighbors to only apply to the social wellbeing category, that actually isn’t the case, reported CNN Health. In fact, regular greetings also improved a person’s physical, career, financial, and community wellbeing.

That’s because all of these are inter-related. A person will be more likely to speak to people if they consider their community as safe. Your physical wellbeing can improve if you are getting out and walking around your neighborhood. Having financial security and a career you enjoy also increases your chances of  wanting to socialize and speak to people around you.

While this is just a survey and more research is needed to see how the data can be used for better wellness outcomes, it’s a good start. But for now, being neighborly and saying hello on a regular basis is a good way  to boost your own wellbeing.

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