Did you ever watch kids in the playground? I have on many occasions and noticed that when they play, even to strangers (other children), they make friends instantly and ask “Hi, my name is Naomi, will you be my friend and play with me?” And 99% of the time, unless the child has to immediately leave the playground because their mommy is picking them up, will play along. Children make friends so easily because their shadow, their ego, has not had a chance to grow.
A child is not thinking in the same lines as the adult. The adult may say “Why is this person talking to me? And “What does this person want from me?” Or they think a random person saying hello is some weirdo. Or they may think along the lines of, “How can this person, and my returning the greeting, do anything for me? Their ego is talking, and thus the adult makes the interaction an uncomfortable event, and not a chance to meet a fellow soul.
Did you ever see adults though on a train like the “El” (for elevated train) in Chicago? They stand around and do everything to avoid eye contact. It is so strange. Everyone averts their eyes and pretends not to see one another, even though everyone is so similar, with the same problems, joys, sorrows, drama, in their lives. We are not strangers to everyone else. We are all one body, in a very real sense. So just as you did when you were a child, look at others and greet them with a smile. Don’t be concerned how they may view you back. People in society, especially in big cities, look away and try not to make eye contact with those around them. Don’t build up false barriers. When you get a smile back and a return greeting, you yourself will feel better.