Whether in public or at a social occasion, your manner of greeting people carries many messages. And anyone listening or watching will immediately read them.
Your greeting, as an initial approach to engaging with someone, not only speaks of your relationship with that person, but can reveal your level of confidence or comfort with the situation.
What sort of impression do you want to give? How enthusiastic are you about seeing someone? Are you comfortable in various social situations? These questions and others are answered each time you greet someone.
Greeting people you like or love comes most naturally. You already have a connection with that person, so approaching them is effortless. The manner in which you greet them automatically tells those in your vicinity that you are happy to see them.
The only downside with greeting someone you are close with would be a case of overexuberance. You may create an “all eyes on you” situation, possibly leaving a questionable impression on those around you. Or you could simply be disruptive to the people in conversation or conducting business who are nearby.
There is nothing wrong with joyfully greeting someone you are happy to see. Just make sure you read the room to gauge how joyfully you should greet them.
Particularly in social situations, the importance of greetings rings loud and clear. These common courtesies always create an impression, especially if absent. Without eye contact, a welcome or hello may be sensed as disingenuous.
Well and good to know! But seriously, what if you feel disdain for someone you have to see or may happen to come across? What’s to lose with simply ignoring the greeting?
A neutral, “Hello, John” with direct eye contact will suffice in these situations. And if a person who does not like you greets you first in such a manner, absent your name, it’s fitting to greet neutrally, but to include the person’s name. You have claimed the high ground. Moving away from small talk engagement won’t be hard.
Of significant importance, refrain from using a sarcastic tone or a “Hello Newman” attitude. You will lose credibility with others and yourself should you engage these displays.
Regardless of relationship, there are standard guidelines for greeting people that you can default to. Especially if you find yourself in a situation that leaves you unsure of what to do.
As philosopher Adam Smith, pointed out years ago, “We not only desire to be loved, but to be lovely, or that which is the the natural and proper object of love." These longings are central to friendship and friendly living. Greetings are foundational to building and maintaining good relationships. Cheerful and positive greetings are the best, and most of the time you will receive in-kind.