Thursday, August 13, 2009

Stereotypical Greetings

Typical Greeting#1:

“Hi. How are you doing?”
“I can’t complain.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. That’s awful. It must be a really frustrating disability when things are going really badly.”

Typical Greeting #2:

“Hi. How are you doing?”
“I’ve got no complaints.”
“How badly do you need some? I might be able to lend you a couple.”

Typical Greeting #3
“Hi. How are you doing?
“As well as can be expected, I guess.”
“That’s wonderful! Expectations are unlimited! Congratulations on achieving them!”

Yes, I have a hard time trying to keep from being a smart butt while greeting acquaintances in passing. I started paying more attention to what we say because there is an eternally optimistic man at work who always responds the same way: “I couldn’t be better!” I actually like this response because it is so upbeat. But sometimes, I still prompted to ask him if he is dreading tomorrow since, by definition, things will have to be worse.

Picky picky picky.

Of course, people now avoid me at all costs. Or they make sure they ask me FIRST. The moment they see me coming, they shout frantically, “Hey! How are you doing?”

But I’m too clever to fall for that! My response is to actually engage them!

Greeting #4:

(From blocks away) “Hey! How are you doing?!!!”

“Thanks for asking. I’m pretty sleepy right now because I’m still fooling with these dogs in my house but the fleas seem to be gone and I managed to take some photographs but I’m heading off to work and hoping to review a couple of contracts and I noticed this morning that I really have to trim my toenails before I start getting holes in my socks and I can’t believe that NASA accidentally taped over the videos they made of man landing on the moon although I use my own DVD’s multiple times and I’ve got to go to the dentist this afternoon…”

(Backing away quickly) “Okay then. Well, good luck at the dentist.”

“You too.”

“But I’m not going to the dentist.”

Dang! Got me at the end! The end of casual conversations is also tricky. The routine two-part goodbye almost always starts with one of the following variations:

“Have a good day.”
“Have a good evening.”
“Take it easy.”
“Have a blessed day.”
“Nice talking with you.”
“Say ‘hi’ to the family for me.”

The common response – “You too!” – fits all of them! But beware of making it a habit because the first person might throw in something specific.

Goodbye #1:

“It’s been great talking with you. Have a nice day and, oh, watch out for that truck.”

“You too.”



  1. Remind me not to run into you on one of my foggier brain mornings.

  2. in portuguese it is ALWAYS - everything good?
    and to be polite you say, "everythings good!!!."
    anything else is considered rude. no, oh god my head hurts from the heat, or i didn't sleep well last night because of the garbage pick up at 1 am.... no, no matter how you feel you have to say "life is GOODDD!"

  3. This is why I stick with the smile and nod, or a simple, "hi"

  4. great post...
    my parting words to people is always, "Make it a good day"...Most reply with a "you have a good day, too"
    That is not what I said! People don't listen, they only hear.

  5. So what would you say to the Aussie greeting, "Guddaigh, Mate!"?

  6. It just drives me nuts when people sign every email "have a nice day." Could we have a little more imagination, people? But people really don't want gory details in passing. If they really want to know what's going on in your life, they'll take the time to sit down and really converse. Have a nice day and sorry about your toenails.

  7. how right. imagine some one asking , "how are you" and there we go," i am not well, i have got stomach upset etc etc." i am sure that person will not ask again the same routine question which deserves no answer.
    then we have this line ," Take care" as if we need some one else to remind us to take care of ourselves and if he doesnt tell us we will not take care?

  8. Ah, the grease in the machine of social interactions. Ya gotta have some, but too much is too much. I like your comebacks, LOL! Still, even a tired old phrase is much better than being ignored. One can't have a meaningful conversation with every acquiantance one passes on the street. What else would you suggest to cover the meaning 'I acknowledge your existence and the fact that we know each other but not well enough to stop and go have a coffee just now.'
    We could all become dogs, and just sniff each other's butts, that would be one way!

  9. If I say, "Hi Mark! You look great and I love that you are posting more than one blog this week. It's always great to hear from you!" You do not have to respond to me but you know that I am here for you. Just smile or something. Thank you. xoxo