Greeting people in different ways keeps interactions fresh and appealing. Meeting new people is usually followed by some other pleasantries and then it’s down to business. Seeing friends at random sometimes involves a handshake or a hug. Passing neighbors on the sidewalk in a rural community can involve a simple hello or a head nod. Walking past strangers in the city however, look down and away from them at all costs! Avoidance of people contact also happens if you’re having a bad day or are in a rush to get someplace. I have been guilty of this in the past. I have since decided that interactions with people often brings forward knowledge that I didn’t have prior to the meet.
We live in a farmland area where all the neighbors know each other and have for decades. Greeting them at the local store is a common occurrence. Our community is fairly tight knit and we discuss the real issues that affect where we live- not the drama unfolding in someone else’s life. We talk about the school system changes, the housing developments that may or may not be happening, and what sort of projects we are doing around the home.
It’s a far cry from my work where I know every detail about someone’s messy divorce, work discipline, or accident. Gossip spreads through my work faster than I remember that happening in highschool. Of course outside of work my friends and I talk about who we knew, and try and keep up with those lives. Oftentimes the drama is left out and we share the good aspects of “where are they now?”
Greetings are a way to break the ice. It’s not always what we want to do, but it’s a common courtesy that we should all do. Even if it kills us inside.