Updated: Mar 23
Hi. It's a simple word and probably one of the shortest greetings of all languages. We all probably picked up on it easily at a very young age and placed it at the top of our vocabulary. Some of us possibly used it too much as a child for those who had to spend a lot of time around us. But allow me to ask "why" would a kid who can barely talk cling on to the word "hi". What does it do to him or her that makes it a favorite? Well I personally don't think it has anything at all to do with what it does to the kid. I think the kid notices what it does to the people that he says it to.
What the kid may be noticing is that using the word "hi" to another person causes a response that is usually happy and friendly. Maybe the kid enjoys making other people happy or he may be lapping up the attention that he wasn't getting before he said it. Either way, it is definitely an act of socializing and connecting with another person to have a better day.
Greeting another has become a lost etiquette for many. I can remember as a child that I had no choice other than to greet my elders whenever I occupied a room with them. It was considered rude and disrespectful in my family for a child not to greet an elder, and it was dealt with swiftly. Of course I had no understanding of this during my childhood and I viewed it as harassments and being pushed around, even though I rarely ever slipped up and forgot to greet an elder.
As I grew into adult hood this habit remained with me. Anytime I entered a room I would greet those who I knew and introduce myself to the ones that I did not know. One of the things that I noticed was that it would break some of the tension in the air and sometimes I would be complimented for it, especially by elders. I was beginning to see that the act of saying "hi" could cause set a tone in a room. Hmmm... Now this little gesture had gotten my attention but it wasn't until a later experience that the full picture was revealed to me about "hi".
Since I had formed this new connection with saying "hi", I began to notice more things about its use such as, when it IS NOT used. When people who occupied a room together chose not to greet each other, the air stayed stale and tense. It seemed that everyone did their best to ignore and snub each other. Eye positioning was focused on the floor or in unreasonable directions to avoid accidental eye contact with another. To me, rooms such as this felt rude and everyone seemed either afraid of or repulsed by each other. ...by someone who that they had never met. ...by someone who they had never even said "hi" to.
When we go out of our way to say "hi" to someone it does a lot for everyone in the area. If the tone is still and tense, it will be an ice breaker that will reset a tone that will be more comforting for everyone. And the person that we say "hi" to will feel valued, grateful and most likely become a supporter that unknowingly participates in the task of changing the tone to a more pleasant one. Saying hi may help someone who is feeling intimidated, afraid or self-conscious feel safer. A simple "hi" can boost the morale of a person, people, and even a moment more than we may have ever thought it could. But the goodness that radiates from our saying "hi" isn't restricted from us because we are the one who said it. Here some of the things that walking in a room and boldy saying "hi" does specifically for the person who says "hi":
...it announces that we are not intimidated by or afraid of any one in the room.
...it demonstrates that we are not rude because we chose to go out of our way to say "hi" instead choosing to go out of our way to dodge and ignore everyone.
...it reveals that we are confident and probably a person to look up to, instead of down on
...it warns the person or people in the room who may have a disliking towards us that we are not hiding from anyone and will initiate whatever we want and need to initiate.
I initiate a mandatory rule of saying "hi" to others on the teens in my youth program even though I never have to enforce it. I have explained the power of "hi" to them so they understand what their actions cause. And I must admit that it fills me with cheer when I can catch a glimpse of the shocked expressions of older men, and women when they are approached and politely greeted by these teenage boys. And those boys can see the influence of their act and feel the power of admiration that they gain.
The gesture to say "hi" is powerful. It can change the direction of a moment in a flash. No harm can be rightfully done through the act of saying "hi" but harm can be done when we choose to go out of our way to avoid saying "hi" to another. It can offend many and cause unnecessary tension for no sensible reason. I personally think it is courageous to go out of the way to say "hi" to others as well as an act of leadership to execute a behavior that one feels may make things better for others. And in some situations saying "hi" may unknowingly be an act of kindness to someone who really needed it that day.
I hope I have been able to provide a clear view of the power that you personally can harness and expel by choosing to, or not to say "hi".
And THIS, is a "way" of the "Warrior's Edge" -Jermaine Andre'