Friday, March 30, 2012

"Well, I have an ingrown nail and terrible gas right now, but otherwise not too bad."

Is it just me, or have we gotten ourselves into a greeting rut as a society?

Take this exchange for example. How many times have you been in this conversation?

You: "Hey Ted, how ya doing?"
Ted: "Good, how are you?"
You: "Great, thanks!"
You: "So, what have you been up to?"
Ted: "Not much, how 'bout you?"
You: "Oh - not too much."
You and Ted: (acknowledging nod)

Brilliant, ain't it?
Now, just for fun, try to get through your day tomorrow and NOT have this conversation with someone. I promise you, it's not as easy as it sounds.

Seriously... does anyone say anything other than some version of "hi, how are you?" or "hey, how's it going?" when we encounter someone anymore? I mean when did a rhetorical question become the only option for saying hello to someone?

I personally try to avoid the ridiculous exchange and usually say something like, "Hi, nice to see you again," or "Hello, you're looking well" - which of course assumes that either are true. Otherwise a simple "Hi" or "Good morning" with a smile works just fine.

My main problem with the over abused "how are you?" greeting is that most people don't really care, or even want to know how the other person actually is. Imagine how uncomfortable it would be if the exchangee decided to reply honestly with a "Oh, not so well. Right now I'm suffering from diarrhea and could very well crap my pants right here."

Ya, exactly.

And think about how much time is wasted on these words that don't actually mean anything. I bet if you added up all the seconds you have spent trading them over a lifetime you would end up with DAYS of wasted time. No... wasted OPPORTUNITY! What if, instead of the empty "How'r you doing?" greeting, people used that time to briefly educate each other with USEFUL information.

"Hi Maria, did you know there's a two-for-one sale on plants at the greenhouse this weekend?"
"No, I didn't! And did you know that eating just 4 sticks of celery a day can help lower your blood pressure?
"No, I hadn't heard that!"
"Yes, it's true. Have a nice day!"
"You too!"

See? Doesn't that make a lot more sense?

Look, asking someone how they are isn't necessarily a bad thing, but does it have to be the ONLY thing? I think not. We're more creative than that. Oh, and for those of you who really DO want to know? I'm doing great... thanks for asking.


Roger Miller said...

So glad that you are doing well! And did you know that as I type this the Colorado Avalanche are playing a crappy team to try and get the last playoff spot? Guess who is winning? Yep the crappy team. Dang hockey upsets me some times. At least the Blackhawks are in, even if your majestic Minnesota Wild are giving them fits. So good to talk to you again, have a pleasant evening, if you so desire.

Mother Theresa said...

Hi! Did you know that scientists have found a plastic-eating fungus in the Amazon that could solve our landfill problems? Yeah, you're right, it would be much more fun if people would exchange interesting tidbits of information instead of the whole "how're you, how's it going" thing. And with all the time spent on Facebook, I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to do. Maybe you should create a group to promote it. You could call it the Meaningful Hello Movement. ;) said...

That's interesting!

WilyGuy said...

I think I posted something similar a while back. I get into the habit of answering with random things, just to see if the questioner is paying attention.

Say, I found you off Bloggess and wanted to shamelessly plug as a spot for bloggers who are of the dude persuasion to post and generally congregate.

That said, loved the post, and I'm fair to bruised, but on only the left side. And you?


Elizabeth said...

I'm guilty of the "How are you?" greeting. I like "Nice to see you again" I'll give that a try.

Bev said...

Hi, glad you are doing well! Or... you have those folks who tell their life history after asking them how are they doing :). I have always liked Hi, or good morning. But am secretly envious of the outgoing elevator-type that can start up a meaningful conversation on the spot. Great post!