“Hi(s)!” and Crowds

Hi!” “Hello!” “Hey!” (Hopefully never, everHowdy! or “Hi-ya!”)

We’re all familiar with the greetings. We use them most frequently to greet those that we know or when being introduced to new person. However, there is a time where the greeting is optional, and can, as a result, be a bit awkward: If you’re walking down a hallway, street, sidewalk, or another spot where you’re surrounded by people.

There are 4 categories that people fall into in this situation:

1.) You put your head down and ignore every person that you pass. Anyone who selects this option must have be coordinated enough to avoid collisions.

2.) You pretend that you are so focused on where you’re going that you don’t notice you aren’t alone. Anyone who selects this option is directionally determined and an expert at avoiding eye contact.

3.) You greet only those that you know, and maybe give a friendly smile to those you don’t. Anyone who does this is normal.

4.) You can say “Hi!” to every single person you see. Anyone who selects this option is slightly (in)sane.

I think you probably have a good idea which category I fall in.

I have always been a number 4. When I walk in a crowded area, I typically try my to say “Hi!” to every person I pass. This can cause me to sound as if my voice is a tape playing at warp speed during passing periods. I probably say “Hi” around a hundred times a day.

This can, of course, cause a little bit of awkwardness. The majority of people fall into categories 1, 2, or 3 and don’t necessarily want to be greeted by a total stranger. They may greet you in return, but more frequently will either look at you like you’re slightly crazy, ignore you, or even somehow manage to accomplish both. Or, even worse, they take that “Hi!” not as friendliness, but, rather, as flirtation.

I remember one time when I was walking on campus at Drake and was so excited because I thought that I had met a fellow 4. My voice probably went up 4 octaves as I overexcitedly said “Hi!” in return. The person’s response?

“Oh, er sorry. I was saying “Hi” to someone else. But “Hi’ anyway!”

Luckily, that person was a 3.

Are you a number 1, 2, 3, or 4? Should I try being a 3?




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