To Greet or not to Greet

Do you greet people? This question is pretty broad so I’ll elaborate. Let’s take the workplace or classroom as an example. Do you make it a point to greet your coworkers or classmates unsolicited? As for me, I want to greet people out of courtesy and a basic acknowledgement of their presence. I will admit that I often, though, take cues from others and adjust accordingly. In an ideal world, all things being equal, I would love to enter a room with people or meet someone in a walkway and be assured of a return greeting or at least a smile or head nod. Unfortunately, this is not the case because there are people out there who don’t share that greeting philosophy. There are some people who will never initiate greeting others or who just won’t greet others even if said greeting is offered first.

I could chalk this up to introversion, but being introverted doesn’t excuse being rude. Greeting another is a low risk proposition. It doesn’t mean you have to engage in a conversation or share information. It is just an acknowledgement of presence. It irks me when folks don’t speak to or greet me. I immediately categorize them as rude and after a while, I don’t greet them at all. I admit this makes a mountain out of a molehill in a sense and calls attention (in my mind) to the awkward quiet that takes the place of the non greeting.

For example, there is an individual at my part time job whom I’ve worked with for about 6 months. We’ve talked a couple of times about work related things. I soon noticed that she never initiates greetings. After a while, I stopped greeting her. I see her and it’s like my mind shifts and accepts it: oh she doesn’t want to speak. It is unfortunate because as much as I don’t want it to affect me it does. It’s like there’s a block there when she enters a room. This magnifies and corrupts the space in ways that it shouldn’t. There are others for whom not speaking doesn’t bother me. I greet them and move on, not waiting for a reply. Is it that I am afraid that her non-greeting diminishes me somehow. I do feel like I’m giving off negative vibes and being something other than who I am, a friendly person.

Who am I to judge others and their speaking/greeting patterns? Yes, I was raised to say, “hello”, especially to people I knew. Perhaps these people I’m encountering weren’t taught the same thing.

There are times, though, when I’m feeling particularly high on life. I walk into a room and am simply happy to be there. I don’t notice, really, who greets me back or not. Instead, I’m only interested in being surrounded by the goodness that I feel. There have been times when I’ve tried to be this way even when I wasn’t feeling it. In other words, I would greet people willy nilly. If they didn’t greet me back or never initiate, I wouldn’t let that affect my actions. I’m not always consistent with this. If I’m feeling blah, I might give back perceived negative energy.

Well, people are people and social morays can make things awkward. In most cases, people do come around, I’ve found. What does coming around mean? In some cases, we all become more comfortable with each other and greeting is second nature and/or we go beyond the greeting.

What have your experiences been with greeting? What type of greeter are you?

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