Greeting someone these days—call it the most mundane of the mundane. That's why it's often met with that same generic energy. You'll know it's true for you if you've ever texted someone and have gotten a response a year later with an uninterested "hi" or worse, left on read.
Greeting someone has become so common that we often just do it automatically without giving it much thought. Maybe it's time to inject a little energy into it. Start saying hello in your own creative way and stand out.
But first, you have to know the reasons behind why people greet other people.
Greeting people is a social norm, and it has been for a long time. So perhaps it's time for us to dive deeper into the reasons behind why we greet people to offer more meaning and weight to this, rather, saturated social gesture.
Here are some of the reasons why we greet each other.
People go about their own ways in the daily hustle of life—this makes their presence go unnoticed. Ironically, people's presence needs to be noticed by other people to communicate that they are there and available as active participants in the world. This helps us function in our daily grind.
Greeting people is a way to get their attention. It alerts them that you're there and it's time for interaction. If not, then the whole world would probably fall into chaos because nobody would know how to reach out.
To build relationships, people have to start somewhere first. And the simplest way to open someone up for interactions that become opportunities to build relationships is by greeting them.
By simply saying hello, you are starting a relationship with that other person by acknowledging them. This can be further developed into an ongoing connection between two individuals and even help them build strong connections with other like-minded people.
Walking into a room filled with people you don't know creates tension and anxiety. This anxiety is rooted mostly in fear of being unable to fit in despite being present. One way to cure social tension and anxiety is to face it head-on. And greeting someone is your main weapon.
Greeting someone hits two birds in one stone. First, you acknowledge someone's presence. Second, when you do, it also becomes a gesture of respect. Note that to make greeting someone a gesture of respect, it has to be polite. Culture is also a crucial factor to consider.
One of the reasons people greet each other is because they want to follow up with a conversation. If someone greets you, they are welcoming you to their space and making themselves available for conversation. It's important that when others do this to us, we return the favor by greeting them back with an open gesture like a handshake or a kind word...
Or simply, a "Hello."
The word "hello" seems to be the go-to word for a reason. It's brief, simple, and polite. But what's the story behind this simple and commonplace word?
The greeting was originally used as an expression of surprise, as in, "Hello, are you out of your mind?"
It wasn't until the first phone book was published that the word "hello" became the official greeting word in 1878. Later on, with the help of Thomas Edison, the word was cemented as a commonly used greeting among patrons of his innovative new telephone.
Today, this word spilled over from the telephone receiver and out into the world. You can hear it everywhere there's a conversation about to happen. But, unfortunately, it's so commonly used that it doesn't help people stand out and make a great first impression. So here are some fun ways to switch it up:
Hello is a commodified word, but it doesn't have to stay that way. You can put your own flavor into your introductions by repackaging the word in a way that expresses who you are. Here are some of the creative ways you can say hello to help differentiate yourself from the crowd.
Read the room when you enter it. If you feel like you're part of this crowd, it's okay to pick up their greeting slang and add your flavor to it. Maybe pick up some millennial or Gen Z lingo while you're at it!
Try saying hello in a different language
It doesn’t always have to be a “hello.” How about a foreign-language greeting to break the ice? Greet someone in your own language or learn a new one to better introduce yourself. Try greeting a stranger "Hola" next time after brushing up on your Spanish!
Showing instead of saying
Actions speak louder than words if you really want to make an impression. You can say it by showing it. Think of a non-verbal gesture that would help you stand out. For example, a wave, a wink, or a Hang Loose may do.
If you’re new in the neighborhood, perhaps you can plan a welcome party of your own to get acquainted with everyone. Then, raise the bar even more by getting a neon sign for your home because what better way to greet someone in your home than a vibrant wall centerpiece?
Neon lights are viable tools to express yourself. In a virtual world run by social media, neon signs will shine as a new way to say hello in a post-pandemic future.
Before the pandemic, you may have only seen it in social and commercial establishments. Neon bar signs for sale are a favorite among bar owners as a way to greet and invite you in for a drink. Other businesses have a welcome neon sign on their door. So, why shouldn't you have one as a means for self-expression?
Try it out! Express your own brand of saying hello to people. An Hola neon sign is a great neon light design to start. Get one, put it on the wall, take a picture of it, and post it online. You will not only greet one person, you'll greet everyone at the party.
This is the future of greeting people. Try customized neon signs today and let people know you don't just greet them. You put a lot of life and substance behind a simple “hello.”