We are pleased to see the return of the “Say Hi To A Stranger” Campaign which was initiated by A Cue Creative Consulting. The first Say Hi To A Stranger Weekend occurred on November 8 – 10, 2013 after local writer Chelsea Pescitelli identified Vancouver as “anti-social” in her VancityBuzz article “Single in Vancouver: The Asocial Single Society.” A Cue Creative Consulting responded with a video and blog post that spread online. They dared Vancouverites to say “Hi!” to strangers and tweet about their experience with the hashtag #sayhitoastranger. The Cue Creative team discovered that Vancouver could be a social and open city, but needed a push to open up and start communicating. Along with the team being featured in mainstream media, approximately 200 people gathered at the checkpoints over the weekend, and more than 5,000 people engaged with the blog and on social media online. #sayhitoastranger trended on Twitter on Thursday, November 7, 2013.
We at IliveInEastVan.com were one of the many that participated in this initial campaign as we love the premise of encouraging social interaction on the streets of Vancouver. Although some of the social interaction was via social media, what is being encouraging is face to face interaction saying hello and smiling to people on the street. This year, the Say Hi To A Stranger Campaigns is being held February 13 – 15 to coincide with Valentine’s Day. According to Psychology Today, Valentine’s Day can add to the feelings of sadness and anxiety felt by adults who are single. Kaare Long, CEO of A Cue Creative Consulting and Project Manager for the campaign says “Vancouver is accused of being a cold city for meeting people, especially for singles looking for ‘love.’ Let’s change that perception. It’s not just a singles’ issue. If everybody gets on board, things will change, even if it’s just for one weekend. We want to encourage the dialogue — as long as there is dialogue, there is potential for change. We’re putting you to the challenge, Vancouver. Let’s warm this city up and make some connections!”
We’ve all heard the research about how important social connections are to our well being. By social connections, we do not mean social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc), but face to face interactions. Having said this, if social media interactions, bring you face to face, go for it! But this weekend, it is about saying hi to a stranger face to face. Even if you only receive a smile, scientific research supports that a smile alone will put you in a better mood states Dr. Michael Lewis, psychologist at Cardiff University. Who doesn’t want to be in a better mood? How great that you could so easily put someone else in a better mood.
During the ucpoming weekend, Vancouver businesses will create socially interactive environments and encourage residents to use the hashtag #sayhitoastranger on social media or use the code phrase “say hi to a stranger” in person in exchange for free food, drinks, gifts or other promotions. If you wish to participate in this weekend’s campaign, why not visit some local businesses participating in East Vancouver which include Bird On A Wire, 2535 Main Street, Mystic Masala, 1723 Grant Street, Home on the Range Organics, 235 East Broadway, Y’s Books, 4307 Main Street and Second Nature at 1827 Victoria Diversion. Will you say hi to a stranger this weekend?