I am a very friendly person and unless I’m in deep conversation with my running friends, I’ll say hello to anyone I see coming toward me on the running trail.  Usually it’s, “Good morning” – even in the afternoon.  I’m a creature of habit, and since 99% of my runs are first thing in the morning, I forget that it’s afternoon.

If I’m in the middle of one of my long winded stories; instead of speaking to an oncoming runner, I may wave, nod, or at the very least grimace.  I’m greeting a fellow runner, they’ll understand.

A lot of runners smile and wave back, but occasionally I’ll meet that person.  You know, that person who couldn’t be bothered.  They’re either so deep in thought, shy, or stuck-up that they don’t reply the gesture.  Well I’ve got a gesture for them!  Just kidding.  Sort of.


After spending way too much time thinking about the subject, I’ve come up with ten reasons other runners might not speak or wave back when you greet them:

  1. They haven’t had their morning coffee
  2. They’re distracted
  3. They’re shy
  4. They’re snobs
  5. They’re not wearing their glasses and can’t see that you’re waving
  6. They find your friendliness annoying so early in the morning
  7. They’re wearing headphones and didn’t hear you speak
  8. They’re blinded by your florescent running shoes
  9. They’re just not a friendly person
  10. You’re running so fast that you were just a blur to them


Some non-greeters are people who you see day-after-day, and they are even more perplexing…  So much so, that you just might end up worrying about them…  For the longest time my BRF and I met a beautiful woman walking her happy and friendly dog every morning when we’d head out for our run.  Occasionally she was on her phone, but usually not. We’d greet her with a big, “Hello,” and get nothing – not even a smile in return. 

I wondered why she couldn’t be bothered to return the smile, and let it get to me for a while.  I made a point of being sure to give her a huge genuine smile and hello every time we met. I wanted to be sure to let her know I was happy to see her out with her dog on our neighborhood trail, whether she was happy to see us or not.

After a while I started to worry about her, and wondered what might be going on in her life to make her so unhappy.  My friend and I continued to say hello as we ran past as she pulled her dog off the trail and out of our way.  Even if she made eye contact, she didn’t smile or speak.

And then one day, out of the blue, she saw us running toward her and greeted us with a huge smile and said, “Hi” before we were even close enough to reply.  I don’t know what changed in her life, but I’m happy it did.  I don’t like to see people unhappy, even people I don’t know.  Ever since that day, we have been greeted by this beautiful woman with a hello and a smile.


On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, I never have to worry about people not waving to me while out running when visiting my mom.  Those country roads were made for friendly people, and every single one of them waves.


One of many friendly drivers I saw on a run


When Bill first visited my parents’ farm while we were still in college, he was so impressed by the friendliness of the drivers we met as we approached my parents’ little community.  Waving is second nature to all of us locals (I was once one), and even if you have no idea who’s driving toward you, you wave.  Bill readily adopted our southern hospitality, and waved to everyone he met, too. 

I’ve never encountered another runner out on the country roads when visiting Mom, but if I did, I’m pretty sure they’d wave!


  • Questions:
  • Do you acknowledge other runners when you’re out?
  • Does it bother you if they don’t wave back?
  • Did you grow up in the country, a small town, or a city?


Happy Running! ~ Deb