Nothing Special, Really

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Say It Yourself

Friday night, Wac and I went to a bar, The Capitol Club, for a friend's birthday. We weren't planning on staying long, mostly because we were broke, but we stayed enough to catch up with our friend. Conversation was the usual - catch up on each other's lives, share some laughs about past memories, make fun of the girl in an all-denim outfit. There wasn't anything about the conversation that stood out, until I got to work on Monday.

At one point in the conversation, we were talking about a coworker of mine, and the friend mentioned "Say 'Hi' to Ryan for me!" I didn't think twice about the statement at the time. She enjoyed the company of the coworker when she was still working with us and, so, she wanted him to know she was still thinking about him. Since I would probably be seeing him before she would, it made sense to her to have me pass on the message. I've done this too, and furthermore, I'd venture to say everyone I know has done this too.

Today, when I got to work, I was thinking "oh, I should tell Ryan so-and-so said hi" (I don't think she reads this anyone, but even though my intent is not to riducule the birthday girl, I'll keep the name unknown anyways). But that got me thinking: what's the point of saying "Hi" if you're not even there to say it? Isn't the point of a "Hi" or a "Hello" to acknowledge one's presence before you? It's a way to greet someone, so if you're not really there when it's said, is it really a greeting?

Those that know me well know that this is how I am. I'm curious about these things we do, things that appear habituous or subconscious, things we do without really knowing why we do it or what we're really doing. Years ago, I gave up on the habit of saying "Bless You" after a sneeze. I know that some might think it's rude, but I think it's just rediculous. Whether it's because your heart supposedly stops when you sneeze, or it's to stop the demons from reentering once you sneeze, I personally don't see the point of saying "bless you". I don't think anyone's going to suffer if I don't bless them after they sneeze, and the only argument I've known to counter my stance is the "You're just supposed to say it" argument. I don't buy it. But I digress.

When I think about it, this whole "Hi" business is pretty pointless too. If you're trying to convey some sort of message to them, then just say what you mean. Instead of telling the person to say "Hi", have the messenger let the person know you'll call them soon, or that they should call you, or that you hope they're doing well. To me, that's more meaningful then this invisible salutation. More often than not, it seems like saying "Hi" is a lazy way of maintaining a friendship, and it hardly ever works. If they're not important enough to you to stay in contact with, then what's the point of arbitrarily saying "Hi" to them? All it does is communicate your own laziness and lack of desire to make a meaningful attempt to communicate with them.

I do acknowledge there might be some exceptions to the rule. Perhaps you have the chance to say "Hello" yourself, but for whatever reason you're tied up, a second-hand "hello" might be OK. But even in that instance, wouldn't it be better to say "Tell them I'm sorry I can't talk right now, but I hope they're doing well and I'll call them soon?"

Communication has become impersonal enough; with the advent of email & text-messaging, we have to rely on one's ability to convey emotion through text to get a message across, and even that's reduced to acronyms and superfluous exclamation points. If we have the chance to give a message to someone through another human being, shouldn't we take advantage of that and say something more than "hi"? From now on, this will be another one of my stupid little quirks. I'm not going to bless you and I'm not going to say when I'm not there. Call me weird, but if you really think about it logically, I don't see how I'm the one behaving weirdly.

2 Comments:

  • Sooooooo... you never passed on the message, I guess.

    Wait... are you one of the guys that when someone asks "how are you?" you actually answer how you are doing instead of the customary BS of "good"?

    By Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage, At August 28, 2007 at 5:51 AM  

  • I can only think of a couple reasons to do this... 1. the sender of the "hi" has a crush on the recipient of the "hi" and wants them to know they are thinking about them without being overt about it. Maybe they have a dialogue going on that you don't know about and this is a means of flirting... 2. wouldn't it be weird for the sender to say, "oh, tell so-and-so that I had a wonderful time at the party, yadda, yadda, yadda" and having you transfer that whole message. It would seem a little too personal to have someone transfer a message that is anything other than impersonal (if that makes sense).

    Sometimes we want to pass the quick, easy message that we are thinking about someone without seeming overly aggressive about it...

    I don't know, it all makes sense in my head. Or, maybe I'm just lazy.

    By Blogger Carrie, At August 28, 2007 at 7:42 AM  

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