chang|e one's mind

i wrote a song… in my mind

relative greetings

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supby this i don’t mean greeting your relatives.  i mean greetings for different people are relative.  for instance, this is what happened to me yesterday:

i was walking to my apartment when a young, black man was walking past me.  when we saw each other, he said, “sup” and i said, “hey.”  after our exchange, something occurred to me.  he didn’t have to say anything.  i didn’t have to say anything.  but we exchanged greetings anyways.  why?  is it because it’d be awkward if we just walked past each other without saying anything?  i don’t think so.  tons of guys do that with no awkwardness.  i think we said it to be polite.  it’s kind of like extending an olive branch or something.  there’s peace between us (not like we were hostile or anything before).

and then i got to thinking about his greeting and my greeting.  he said, “sup.”  i said, “hey.”  i wondered if in another context, different people would say the same thing.  for example, in a white, upper-class area, they might not say, “sup.”  it might be rude.  they’d say, “how do you do?” with a british accent or some kind of upper-class greeting.  i dunno.  however, for this man, it was extremely appropriate and i took it as being very polite.  i don’t want to sterotype anyone (although i fear i already have), but i just wanted to point out that greetings are relative.  “sup” can be rude to some people, or it can be extremely polite.  it can be a greeting, or a question.  for instance, sometimes when i say “what’s up?” i actually mean it.  i want to know what’s up.  other times, i use it as a greeting, which confuses people i think.  they’ll say, “what’s up?”  and i’ll be like, “oh hey what’s up?” and then they’ll answer, “oh nothing much.”  and i’m thinking, “oh crap, was i supposed to answer theirs first?  did they really want to know what’s up?  i thought we were just greeting each other.”  there should be rules.

so the next time you run into someone (mostly those that you don’t know), see how they greet you and how you greet them.  i think it’ll make you think about strangers in a different way.


Written by enoch

July 14, 2009 at 9:49 am

Posted in social observation

One Response

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  1. that’s a perfect picture for this post


    July 14, 2009 at 1:34 pm

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