General Question

MindErrantry's avatar

What's proper greeting protocol?

Asked by MindErrantry (821points) February 17th, 2009

If you kind of softly greet someone as you pass, then they say hi to you, but you’re not sure if they actually heard you ‘hi’, should you repeat? Risks are they have heard, and will think you’re weird; but if they didn’t hear, they’ll think you’re rude. Oddly, this seems to come up a lot in my life… I should probably start speaking louder in the first place! Meanwhile, what to do?

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12 Answers

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Forget the meanwhile. Just speak louder. Commit to your greeting instead of skirting on the edges of social etiquette. =D

I’ve had the same problem.

dynamicduo's avatar

In your exact case, I would simply keep walking and not clarify the greeting. The entire purpose of this simple hello is to recognize each other and not engage in a long conversation, and by clarifying your greeting you may make the person feel obliged to say something back, and then a conversation starts.

I preempt this by having a smile on my face when I make eye contact with someone who is passing by. This way an explicit “hello” is not really needed.

buster's avatar

You should stop and have a firm handshake. Bid them farewell and be on your way.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Speaking up with be a good first choice. Using people’s names if you know them, is another. People tend to hear their names, no matter how softly spoken. Perhaps come up with a secondary greeting? Like “nice day” or “how’s it going?” could help.

Mr_M's avatar

Stop obsessing about something so minuscule. And learn to greet by looking a person in the eye, smile, then say “hi”. This way you appeal to their eyes AND ears and will increase the chances they’ll catch your greeting. Even if they don’t catch what you say, they’ll catch the smile. And say something longer then a simple “hi”. Say “How YOU doin’?” Anything longer then “hi”.

Mtl_zack's avatar

This has happened to me 4 times yesterday: I see someone, I say hi, they don’t respond, everyone looks at me weird.

Side note: Why do people say “how are you?” when they’re walking by?

Mr_M's avatar

@Mtl_zack , I have the same problem. For some reason, people can’t handle it when a monkey talks.

Darwin's avatar

You can always respond with a big smile and catch their eye. You could also add a follow up to your (possibly) unheard “hi” such as “How ya doin’?” “Whatcha been up to?” to respond to their greeting.

fireside's avatar

Maybe just make repeating a part of your hello
Hey, Hey, Hey

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

a smile and a nod works best for me. If someone wants to talk, they’ll let me know. Back when I was going to a psychologist, I was given the task to speak to strangers more often, to get me out of my shell. It is a lesson that has stuck with me ever since. So I have been known to start conversations with complete strangers, but I suppose it depends on my mood.

SeventhSense's avatar

Say hi and use their name in a clear and friendly voice and look straight at them. If they are shy, feel awkward or don’t respond then in the future just look at them and smile if they make eye contact. If not, then they are ignoring the world and allow them that luxury.

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