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What’s in a greeting?

January 29, 2015

Have you ever had somebody walk by you and casually ask “Hey [your name], what’s going on?” And then just keep walking? My manager did this today and it struck me as a rather strange thing to do. I mean, is a greeting like “What’s going on?” as in “What is going on in your life?” a casual-flyby-greeting, or is it something that requires you to stop? I think it’s the latter, but it’s interesting to think about why this happens. It’s likely he means to ask how I’m doing but he’s not doing that at all.

He’s asking me what has happened in my day. Shouldn’t such a greeting be reserved for the water cooler, or when sitting down for lunch with someone? Why bother asking me what’s going on in my life if you have no intention of stopping to listen? What’s the point of that? Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to ask “Hey [name here], how’s your day going?” With a greeting such as this, I could answer easily and quickly.

But if you ask me what I’ve done today I’ll want to think about my answer. Do it right now. Think about what you’ve done today. It’s not so easy right off the top of your head is it? I’ve come to hate these types of greetings. It’s like the person is fake-caring, or greeting by expectation instead of actually giving two shits what your day consisted of thus far.

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