Appreciating a good Greeting

Appreciating 1: A good greeting | Every week I take a concept or event so I can say good things. Welcome to Appreciating.

Every week I take a concept or event so I can say good things about it. Even negative aspects can be helpful sometimes. Welcome to Appreciating.

I took a trip to my hometown Kolkata in May for a family event. It was a fantastic week for me – having had just recovered from a severe depressive bout, I was thrilled to encourage my improvement by meeting a lot of people, and I met people I hadn’t seen in years and then some. Beyond that, my father took me to his tailor (as we’ve done several times before) and I gave measurements for two new suits (for future events) and they are very awesome.

But the most important thing is that my relationship with my father improved by leaps and bounds, because he was suffering through something, and I stood by him, and apparently that meant a lot to him.

So it sucked a lot when I made a stupid mistake and left home without saying goodbye.

My flight was for 6 in the morning. I was out the night before. My mom had instructed me over the phone that when I came back, I should ask the security guard on night duty to hail a cab for me in the early hours. She had apparently said 5 AM (“paach” in Hindi) and I heard 4 AM (“chaar”) which is what I relayed to the man.

He got me a cab at 3:40. Both my parents were asleep (having set an alarm for 4:30). I decided not to wake them up and left. Even as I got into the cab, I knew it was a bad idea. I felt terrible all the way to the airport, and even more so when I got a call from my now awake and very heartbroken parents.

A goodbye is often taken for granted. A parent might instill the habit in a child, but as the child grows, s/he may drop the habit over time, and this might be mistaken for a sign of maturity or growing up. However there is nothing mature about skipping parting words, and there is nothing needy about a parent or a loved one hoping for greetings (whether they be goodbyes, hellos, or anything else).

Greetings are essentially acknowledgement. They don’t have to be verbal. A full discourse, a quick hello/goodbye, a slight nod or bow, or even a smile can mean the world to a person, without them even realizing it. When you greet someone, you acknowledge their existence and you tell them they are important – small reaffirmations that they matter. You know how it is said that it is the little things that count? These fall under those little things.

Proper goodbyes, both in regular use (everyday moments) and important use (special events), can make a world of difference in intricate manners.

The best goodbyes are hopeful ones – direct ones such as “I’ll be back.”, “Let’s meet again.”, “See you around.”, or indirect ones such as “I had a great time.”, “This was fun.” all indicate a hope of meeting again. In fact, my mother trained me to not say “Jaa raha hoon”*, instead opting for “aata hoon”** whenever I step out of the house.

By employing hopeful greetings, both hellos and goodbyes, in your regular interactions, you can set foundations of comfort, ease, and familiarity in your relationships. These foundations shall remain strong, and ensure that you make good impressions on people.

Try them out for yourself. As you ease into the habit of using hopeful greetings, you will find noticeably less hostility and misunderstanding in your communications.

* ‘Jaa raha hoon’ –
pronunciation J-aah ruh-haah hoo(n) – very slight nasal n at the end, may be skipped
     translation “I am going.”

** ‘Aata hoon’ –
pronunciation Aah-taah hoo(n) – nasal n; soft t, sounds as if spoken with a lisp – made by flicking the tongue off the edge of the upper teeth, unlike a hard t where the tongue is flicked off the roof of the mouth
translation “I will come.”

Hopefully this helps you appreciate the importance of a good greeting. Keep an eye on this space for more Appreciating which will be regularly posted every MONDAY at 9 AM (IST). You can subscribe below in the footer to receive each post by email, or bookmark the front page to remind yourself. Next week’s Appreciating is “The power of smell”.