On Greeting

I have a vague feeling of déjà vu that I’ve written this post already, but the subject bears repeating.

I’m working with a few preconditions of human nature with one of them being that humans like to see that they have some kind of effect on and in the world that they live in. This explains the subtle enjoyment one gets from cracking the ice of small ponds on a cold morning or why some people build models or any of the huge number of human endeavours that exhibit this idea.

Being social creatures that we are, we also like to see that we have an effect on other humans. We like to be acknowledged by them and recognized by them. I honestly think that you could drive anyone mad by just everybody not paying any attention to him/her or engaging in any interaction with them apart from the smallest possible amount. For example, if you tried to talk to people at work, they wouldn’t respond with anything meaningful, just grunts or shrugs. No matter what you said. Any questions at the supermarket would be met with I-don’t-know’s and I-guesses.

It is exactly because of this need for recognition that makes people greet each other. It is the assumption that if I acknowledge you, you will acknowledge me in turn. It is because of this fundamental link with basic human needs and traits that makes greeting an activity in need of as little as possible of reasons. Greeting should be acceptable in any situation. You should never have to explain why you greeted someone.

For any number of reasons, listed in this post or otherwise, I genuinely think that the world would be a bit better place if people greeted each other more often.

2 thoughts on “On Greeting

  1. When I post on Reddit, it’s mostly because it’s nice to see people react to my postings. Even though there is no real benefit in having a top page post, it still feels so cool to get recognized. And yes, it did drive me mad that at my workplace at the university people were always mostly ignoring each other in the hallways :)

  2. Well, there you go. I think one success factor for any social medium is how much they facilitate recognition between users. And facilitating doesn’t just mean that you can leave a comment on their user page.

Comments are closed.