Why Hello

Here’s a rather odd characteristic about me…or rather, a blaring example of how much I over think things sometimes. For the most part, I’m a lot more outgoing than I used to be. Most people wouldn’t even call me shy or introverted anymore. But there’s one lingering remnant of my many years of being shy…saying hi to people. You’re probably thinking “Huh? How hard is it to say hi?” But unless I know the person semi-well or am sure they’ll say hi back, I often just smile at people instead of saying the full “Hi.” Especially at work. I’ll be in the kitchen with someone, go up in the elevator with someone or pass them in the hall and not say hi. Now of course if someone says hi to me, I will return that.

Why am I so hesitant to say hi you ask? For some reason, I have this idea ingrained in my mind that if I say hi to someone who isn’t my friend or doesn’t even know my name, they’ll think it’s weird for me to be saying hi to them. Or maybe they won’t even return the hi and then I’ll feel like a total tool. I’ll give you an example from last week at work. I saw a manager from another floor that I know. Not well by any means and I’m not sure if she knows my name but we see each other in the office and I really like her. I had to creep by her to get to the bathroom and I uttered a very quiet “Hey.” She said “Hey you!” back. But as I went into the bathroom, I realized that maybe she hadn’t even heard me say hi because I said it so quietly and if that was the case, I didn’t say anything back to her “hey you” so she would think I was like the rudest person ever (I tell ya, you do not want to live inside my head sometimes). I went and explained all this to my coworker afterwards and as I expressed my fear about saying hi out loud, I realized how utterly ridiculous it sounded. I’m sure there have been many people that have thought I’m not the nice person I actually am because I don’t say hi, all because I’m so concerned with getting a hello rejection.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if the other person doesn’t say hi back or what they even think about my saying hi. It’s making the effort. It’s showing people the kind of person I am. When I think back on how I’ve felt after a total stranger has said hi, 9 times out of 10 it’s made me smile or feel really good. That’s something I want to share with other people. When you take the workplace for example too, yes I may not know every single person anymore but we all work in the same building. We all work for the same company. That alone is a bond enough to merit saying hi to each other.

So that’s my goal for this week. I am going to cheerily say hi to every person I see in the kitchen, ride on the elevator with or pass in the hallway. It’s time to get out of my head and worrying so much about what other people might think and just be the nice, social person that I am.

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