I was at the playground with Patrick and Lilly on Monday, waiting for Rainbow Dash to show up. A lady walked by, walking a dog.
Lady, staring at the twins: Don't you say hi?
Me, irked: Sometimes we're shy.
Lady: You don't have to be shy. You can just say hello!
I ignored her, and she kept walking. But really? This is in the same category as ruffling a strange toddler's hair. Just because they're smaller than us does not mean children always want to be touched, spoken to, or forced to interact.
I believe very strongly in manners. I also believe very strongly in autonomy. If someone is giving the kids something, I expect them to say thank you. If someone is walking by, I don't expect them to necessarily engage in conversation.
We haven't had any sort of stranger-danger or don't talk to strangers conversation, but this plays into that as well. I want my kids to be friendly, but if they aren't comfortable saying hello to a random person walking by, more power to them. Which, in fact, is frequently what preschoolers need. More power.
Keep your mouths closed, kids. I got your back.