Now that we’ve learned the social graces of how and when to greet what comes next? We now know that waiting for youngsters to greet would (sometimes) be tantamount to waiting for hell to freeze. Although there are some in this group that actually go against the prevailing culture of their generation, a pleasant surprise when it does happen but not something for which one should hold their breath.
There are times you’ve thrown a cheery greeting and were rewarded with a stare, an x-ray look, slight nod or nothing at all. These you have also surmounted and not let ruin your day. Then you’ve also had the meaningful exchange of pleasantries that added colour to the day and reassured you that there was still hope for the human race.
As we’ve come to discover social interaction isn’t as ‘simple’ (if it was ever that!) as it once was and in some other instances it really hasn’t changed much. Simplicity is not something that can actually be used in the same breath when people are mentioned as some of us have discovered. For as many as compound issues, there are those that strive to keep it straightforward. When you bump into them it’s very refreshing how they make no bones about issues.
There are some that don’t bother with the social etiquette of greeting those that maybe familiar or slightly so, others prefer to take their chances with strangers and there are those that restrict it to just family, friends and business acquaintances. The first believe that familiarity could breed contempt and so try and avoid this with neighbours and the like. The second group are of the opinion that you can’t go wrong in these instances and since the rules of engagement in these circles are more structured it also makes life relatively easy.
Some souls make no qualms about not greeting those that have spurned them in the past. As far as they’re concerned, if they acknowledge you once and you don’t respond there’s no need to further prolong matters. Thus if the person that spurned them suddenly wakes up…they also get ignored.
The way a greeting is perceived to have been replied is also important because if disrespect (in any form) is sniffed, therein ends this chapter. This rule cuts across peers and other age-groups, in fact it’s really easy in peer-to-peer interaction. I know people that immediately stop hailing those that grunt back. Some give the grunters the benefit of the doubt but once the evidence confirms their pattern, they usually cut them off too. Of course there are instances when the greeter mocks the greeted through the salute, if this is perceived the person at the receiving freezes them out. After all nobody likes to be mocked.
The etiquette of social interaction is a multi-verse of minefields that must be navigated all in a bid to-live-and-let-live. The nuances communicated through various levels of relationships are multifaceted…to say the least! Each depends on what was said, or left unsaid, the context, what was understood or not and most importantly the individuals involved. Misunderstandings are bound to occur and feathers will be inevitably ruffled. The triumph comes when despite everything that might have happened all parties concerned decide to let courtesy prevail.
The endearing quality of human beings occurs when they choose to remember that humanity is about living in societies and since these are constituted of other flawed beings it’s an unending task that must be worked at, each time. Certainly not an easy thing and it also doesn’t get easier. The skills developed by each person in a previous relationship helps in the next and so forth; this is the consolation we must keep close the next time a socially awkward incident occurs in any relationship.