When I lived in Australia, I didn’t find the locals especially friendly. My theory was that it was something to do with being an immigrant in a city full of them. I found the Kiwis nicer, to be honest. The Sydneysiders, I felt, were friendly on the surface, but there was no substance to their niceness. To be fair, though, Australians in service roles are pretty friendly and a pleasure to deal with. Almost every single concierge or cashier I’ve encounteredhas been incredibly friendly. Chatty, wonderful sense of humour, interested in where I’m from – I’ve enjoyed almost every interaction.
Here’s the guy behind the desk at the motel where I’m staying in Portland:
“How’re ya doin?” he said in the standard greeting. After establishing that I’m South African, he mentioned that a South African doctor, an anesthetist, had just started working at the local hospital. Was I a doctor, he asked? Yes, but only an academic one, I said. The only way I put people to sleep is with boring lectures. “Ha!” he laughed. “Good one.” He informed me that he needed to get a cold beer and told me where Chris and I could find one.
That’s all you need really: a smile, a friendly exchange, a little bit of interest.