Visitors often comment on how friendly everyone is on Skye. The cynic in me says that will be because those visitors are spending their money here and providing us with our income, so we need to keep them sweet… But then, thinking about it – we are a pretty friendly community. It is absolutely the ‘done thing’ to say ‘hi’ to everyone you meet, whether you know them or not (unless in a really busy place like the Co-op, and then you only say ‘hi’ to the several people you meet who you know). We smile a lot. We know all our neighbours. We help each other out when someone has a problem.
When I travel to the south of
England to connect with friends and
family, it is most noticeable (to me) that when strangers pass on an otherwise
deserted pavement, the ‘done thing’ is to determinedly avoid any eye contact,
and to make no attempt at all at communication. I find it very strange to
travel on public transport in the South, and see everyone plugged in to
earphones and staring intently at little rectangles of plastic. No-one speaks
to another person – heaven forbid!
Now, it is visitor season on Skye again. A couple of our neighbours in Roskhill offer visitor accommodation, so we have strangers wandering past our gate most days, as they explore the immediate neighbourhood. I always say ‘hi’ to anyone I see. Some look a little surprised, but they always say ‘hi’ back – and sometimes even pause for a brief chat.
It’s not so hard to be friendly.