I realize that there are very limited options to greeting someone, and some people are struggling with them. There are basically three greetings:
The Wave – I prefer this one. It’s casual, it lets people know you have acknowledged them. It’s perfect. And you have quite a few options to mix it up with. You can wave. If your arms are full you can give the nod. If you are on the phone and see someone you can just smile. It is a very versatile gesture. It’s one that never gets old. Unless you have a friend or co-worker with OCD. They abuse this greeting. Every time you walk by they have to wave. If you are on your way to the bathroom they wave. They stop and say hi on your way back. They do it again at lunch. By the copy machine. While you are getting a coke. And they never have anything important to say. It’s as if they are surprised to still see you at the place you work at for 8 hours a day every day. Some people who don’t get enough attention growing up become dancers. Others become chronic hello-ers.
The Handshake – This is the most professional method. It can also ruin your day. If you nail the hand shake with a nice even connection, firm grasp and quick two pumps you are a man. If the other person closes their grip too early and grabs hold of just your fingers you feel like his personal naughty doll. Now your whole impression with that individual is tainted with your girlie shake.
The absolute worst handshake is when the other person puts their hand on top of yours during the shake. And you aren’t sad for any reason. It feels like they are trying to comfort or console you. Or let you know that they are there for you. You’re just saying hello for hells sake!! And if they tilt their head while touching the top of your hand forget about it. They have obviously heard something about you that you are better off not knowing.
The Hug – Unless I haven’t seen you in years or saved you or your child’s life – I don’t need a hug when seeing you. Especially when I saw you yesterday since we live by each other. The build up to a hug is very tricky. Are you going to put your head to the left? Do they have the same idea? Are your faces going to be 2 inches apart since no one committed to a side to tilt their head? Do you really want to be squished up against someones chest? (Well, some people I do). The hug is generally the movement you make right before trying to steal first base. It goes hug, kiss then marriage I believe. Kids are the home run.
The ultimate awkward greeting is this move –
You see someone you know. They wave hello. You wave hello. They start to walk towards you. They must want to talk to you. Oh wait, here comes a handshake. This is awfully professional of them, but OK. Then they grab your hand in the handshake and pull you in real fast for a one handed bear hug. And they are laughing the whole time. And shaking your hand at the same time while telling you hello. And if you are a girl your hands are tangled in a shaking motion right in the middle of your chest. This isn’t good on any level. But some people never learned how to greet others growing up and now you have just been physically assaulted, in public.