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Let’s talk about waving. Do you always wave at neighbors when passing by? Do you wave, but only if your neighbor waves first? Or do you just continue along your way, pretending you and they are invisible, and never raise a hand in a wave or even offer the minimalist, two-finger salute?

Some took the “leave me alone” approach when we asked on Facebook for advice on the etiquette of waving at neighbors for our third installment of Block Talk, an every-other-week feature in which Patch readers guide each other through neighborhood issues and traditions.

People often have good reasons for not waving that may not be obvious to their neighbors. Maybe their relationships are outside the neighborhood and, frankly, they’re not looking for more connections. They may be naturally shy and reserved, and waving is outside their comfort zone. Their reasons are their business, and Block Talk is a judgment-free zone.

“I don’t wave, and I don’t wait for them to wave,” a Toms River, New Jersey, Patch reader wrote.

A Joliet, Illinois, Patch reader is all for minding her own business, too. “I don’t make eye contact,” she wrote, “and it works not having to do anything.”

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“I don’t like people,” a Lansdale, Pennsylvania, Patch reader wrote, “so I probably won’t even look at you to receive or give a wave.”

A Middleton, New Jersey, Patch reader is strategic about leaving the house and waits “until there’s no people in sight before going outside.”

A Branford, Connecticut, Patch reader has something to say about that.

“I always wave. But am shocked by the people that don’t wave back,” she wrote, adding, “It’s insulting really.”

And a Concord, New Hampshire, Patch reader has something to say about that.

“Honestly, if I wave or not has nothing to do with my neighbors at all,” the person wrote. “It has to do with what I have going on inside my mind. Some days, I feel great and wave; other days, I feel crummy and don’t.”

“I always greet people walking towards me. Sometimes I get a wave or a greeting; other times I don’t,” a Pleasanton, California, Patch reader wrote. “Either way, I’m OK; people have lots on their minds these days. I respect that.”

Even unapologetic non-wavers should make an exception when children wave at or otherwise greet them, according to a East Haven, Connecticut, Patch reader. She wrote her 4-year-old son, who “says hello and talks to everyone,” is crushed when people don’t wave back at him.

“I always tell him not to change and keep saying hello,” she wrote.

A Wave Is A Smile
Go ahead and wave at your neighbors, even if they don’t wave back, several people recommended.

“I say wave,” a Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Patch reader wrote. “Let everyone know you care a little bit that you’re part of the community. It’s a simple gesture that can put a smile on the face of your neighbor that may need a pick me up.”

A Concord Patch reader wrote that waves are “sort of like smiles” — they’re free, and can mean the world to people on the receiving end.

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