The Truth Behind the Cold Shoulder

cold shoulder

How many times have you passed someone in the hall– a person you have seen many times at work, but don’t really know– and said hello?

At 6:45 a.m. on Monday mornings, in a semi-deserted hospital hallway, this happens to me all the time.

The response I get is, shall we say, interesting?

Sometimes, people smile big and share something great, even though I do not know them. They will say, “Hi! Today’s my birthday!”

Or “Hey there! I leave for vacation in Florida tomorrow! Can’t wait!”

I always am cheerful right back.

Other times, the person is maybe two feet away and looks me right in the eye as I say “Hello” or “Good morning.” I KNOW I’ve have seen that guy at least 15 times in the past month, yet, he doesn’t say a word.

No nod.


That happens all the dang time, too, I’m sad to say.

It used to bother me.

Until one day, when I asked my operating room staff about this weird phenomenon.

One of the nurses told me she gets super happy whenever this happens to her…

What really happens when you get the “cold-shoulder reaction” in the hallway?

The nurse explained that when you get ignored like that, the Universe responds with abundance and spreads all the good Karma it can find, like butter on warm toast, all around you.

Several other folks in the operating room nodded their heads. They had heard that story, too.

Fascinating, huh?  Click to Tweet:

When you get ignored, the Universe responds with abundance by spreading good Karma all around you.

One nurse shared that she had even won the lottery on the same day someone ignored her cheerful greeting.

“Wait a minute. You won the lottery, and you’re still working here?” I said.

“Well, it wasn’t that much–just $20,000,” she said.

I cannot make this up, people.

Over the past several weeks, I’ve adopted a new way of interpreting people’s cold-shoulder reactions to my greeting. And you what? Things have changed.

When I say “Hello,” or “Good morning,” and I get na-da, nothing, not even a blink, I think, “Woo-hoo! What great thing is going to happen today because of that person? Yippee!”

I am on the lookout for it, all day.

And guess what?

It always happens that the Universe throws me a blessing.

Case in point: Yesterday, I got perhaps one of the biggest cold-shoulder reactions possible. I had just parked in the doctors’ parking deck and was running to catch the elevator. Another doctor was about 3 feet ahead of me and had entered the elevator.

The elevator doors shut when I was about 10 inches from them.


I know he saw me; he was in a hurry, too, I’m sure.

But, seriously?

My first thoughts were not printable. For about 20 seconds.

Then, I thought, “Whoa! This is gonna be a really great Karma day.”

Here’s how it played out: I took the next elevator and ended up passing that same doctor in the hallway. I came close to thanking him for my great Karma day, but decided against it.

I entered the operating room. My first case was running a few minutes late. Thinking my Karma thing was not happening after all, I asked why we were delayed.

It turned out that the nurse had noticed the patient’s bed was malfunctioning, so she took the time and energy to change it out before I arrived. Yes!

And all four cases went so smoothly that I was running an hour (unbelievable!) ahead of schedule.

The rest of the day was one good thing after another: Parking spot at the office? Score! Light traffic on the way home? You bet! Happy husband at the dinner table? Yes, ma’am!

So, before you get your boxers in a bunch at a dismissive response to your friendly greeting, stop and say, “Thank you.”

Then smile. Good Karma is on the way.



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4 thoughts on “The Truth Behind the Cold Shoulder

  1. John Bennett MD

    Glad I stumbled upon your blog, must be good karma! No actually, I saw you were following my website, so I wanted to check you out, and ran across this post.
    You know, I was just mentioning that to my wife the other day. In my nice apartment building, most people acknowledge my greetings, but once in a while I run into a rock, and it bothers me. I feel like saying, “I said, GOOD MORNING!”, but you know that would not be right..
    I am going to try what you say, and let you know.

    1. Starla Fitch, M.D Post author

      Lisa, thanks so much for this insight. It does help to realign thinking when things aren’t always appearing to go the right way. Your site is fascinating. Love it!


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