Friday, June 03, 2005

Hello, Hi, Heya, Hi there...

How do you say hello to someone? Not like when you call someone on the phone or going up to someone you're attracted to an introducing yourself. I mean like on a daily basis saying hello to someone at work as your passing by in the hall. Someone you don't have any other interaction with.

It's kind of rude, isn't it, to just pass by with out acknowledging someone's existence. But, is it worse than meaningless small talk, "Hi," "What's up?" "Nothing, you?" "The same." Both are uncomfortable moments for me.

There's a moment of panic when I see someone coming the opposite way. Do I make eye contact? If I do, then it's really bad not to say hello. If I don't, that's rude, too. Then, once you make eye contact, how do you not have the same, polite small talk everytime you run into this person? Can you really mix it up from "What's up?" to "Howyadoin'?"

Have you ever played the "eye contact" game? That's where you notice someone walking towards you and you have a limited amount of time to decide if you should say hello. To play, you look at the person briefly to see if they are looking at you. Then, at the moment their eyes dart towards you, you look away and pretend you weren't looking at them. This eye tennis goes back and forth until one of three things happen when you meet: someone says hello and the other says hello back, someone says hello and is completely ignored, or neither acknowledge the other. What happens tells you a lot about the other person and yourself.

Yeah for you and the other person if you both acknowledge each other. May you both establish a happy friendship.

Boo to the person doesn't say hello back to another. Expect the same courtesy to be extended the next time you both meet. Maybe even with a slight sour expression to go along with it.

And double boo to you boo for not acknowledging the other. That subtle rejection hurts you both.

*TANGENT* - Make sure if you say hello, you say it LOUD. I tend to make a soft, breathy sound come out of my mouth and all that garners is silence. Then, the other person thinks I'm at least as rude as them for not acknowledging them. With the lack of reaction, I am starting to wonder if I'm just not loud enough for the person to hear my salutations.

The problem with the hallway hello is when you go out of your way to make eye contact, you go out of your way to say hello, and then no response. That's worse than a knife in your back because the other person is basically saying "I'd rather be rude than speak to you." It is especially painful when a hot co-worker does it to you.

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