October 2017
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changing my attitude toward 'hi'


icon: "exuviate (photo of a dragonfly with shimmery green wings after its last metamorphosis, standing next to its previous exoskeleton)"

After posting that I hate it when people use greetings like 'hi' and reading the responses, I realized 1) other people don't hate this, 2) other ADD people in fact feel a particular need for this, and 3) the reason I hate this is because it makes me feel forced to participate in something meaningless on fear of being punished, because I was not allowed to ignore people as a child. I can fix this by assigning meaning to my greetings and practicing ignoring whatever I do not want to respond to.

I honestly thought that most people didn't care one way or the other and people who reject norms would also hate it as meaningless and useless. I thought I was being kind by not making other people do this! So it's a good thing I posted about it because I have been unintentionally making people feel off-kilter or unimportant for decades *concerned frown*

So I'm going to do my best to change my behavior. I thought about how to make the ritual meaningful for me and decided that when I say 'hi' I mean H.I. which stands for hierarchy incinerate, a wish for all hierarchy to be burned into nothingness. And I will picture sending them a gift of flame, which they will hopefully use to destroy oppression but they can also just use for any positive purpose. If they say hi-how-are-you in a situation where it is not appropriate (such as walking by each other in a hall), I will ignore the question and respond with 'hi.' If they ask how I am when I can actually respond, I will offer them a summary phrase and one fact that has affected how I am lately - whether they want to hear it or not. It is disrespectful to ask someone a question and not care about the answer, and I'm going to assume people are not being disrespectful.

When I was forced to participate in this ritual as a cashier, I asked, 'how's your life?' because it was different enough that it shook people out of their rut sometimes and they gave a real answer. Plenty of people just said 'fine' though, so I am going to try 'how's your day been?' For me it is much easier to answer than 'how are you?' which is a damn huge question.

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Comments
b00kl0ver ══╣╠══
soundofsunlight ══╣╠══
This. I think "how's your day been?" is a much better question.

When people say "how are you" and I get the impression that they don't really care, I ignore the question. But even when they do care, it's such a big topic that sometimes I answer "you got an hour?" because there's a lot and I can't just pick one. (Usually when this happens, the person does want to know, which is nice, but I still like getting that confirmation before I launch into it.)
ladywind ══╣╠══
^ This. Sometimes I just don't want to get into How I Am with a random human who doesn't know me.

"How's your day been?" is bitesized and customizeable w/o being Too Much Too Fast. I know how to listen to things between, "today's fired, yo," and "It's beautiful! I'm glad to see the sun!" with heart. I know how to summarize my day for various audiences without making it theirs to deal with. I like "How's your day been?" a lot.
belenen ══╣vivacious╠══
yay! I may have a valid mild-interaction option! *grins*
belenen ══╣honesty╠══
*nods emphatically* Yes, indeed, especially since people usually ask me this in a situation in which I have turned off my awareness of how I am, and turning it back on is a HUGE chore and difficult.
z8z8 ══╣╠══
Small talk
Love this response
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
Re: Small talk
*grins*
jeune_fleur ══╣╠══
I wasn't around by the time you posted that entry so I had no chance to comment x_x. But even though saying hi or being said hi doesn't bother me, small talk does. I just don't know how to do that human thing? LOL. I feel more comfortable actually talking about something!

I hate the question "how are you?" because I'm usually the kind of person that answers honestly. I don't do well with people who think that yes means no and no means yes, so usually people are like "but I didn't really mean to know you were doing bad", well then why did you ask? :P
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
I feel ya! I always appreciate when people answer honestly rather than by habit.
cactus_rs ══╣zarquons fish╠══
I thought about how to make the ritual meaningful for me and decided that when I say 'hi' I mean H.I. which stands for hierarchy incinerate, a wish for all hierarchy to be burned into nothingness. And I will picture sending them a gift of flame, which they will hopefully use to destroy oppression but they can also just use for any positive purpose

Badass!
belenen ══╣giggling╠══
*giggles* thanks!
ragnarok_08 ══╣Bleach ★ the goddess of flash╠══
I'm not a fan of being asked 'how are you', because I usually try to think of a response on the top of my head, especially at the last minute.
belenen ══╣artless╠══
I know what you mean! and it is not easy, much of the time!
zimtkeks ══╣╠══
I like your question. When people ask me how I am, I often have to find a middleground between being too honest and actually lying. So I usually try to give them some fact that has been important to me lately, often being something that happened that day. I guess your question would make me feel some level of connection and understanding right away.
belenen ══╣vivacious╠══
oh yay! I am glad to know this!
webgirluk ══╣pic#124969441╠══
I like reading your reflections and self learning process.

I didn't get as far as commenting on the original so I'll share thoughts now. I don't mind people saying "Hi" as a conversation starter in person but online often I have not been that impressed when someone sent a message to contact me, say on a dating page and all they would say is "Hi" as I expected a deeper introduction. Your post reinforced my view that I should delve deeper and see what someone has to say beyond "hi" once a conversation is kick started. It's the same in a way on LJ when people add without speaking. I often would dislike this and ignore random adds without intros but as well experience has shown sometimes friendship can work out somewhat as it's just another way to say "hi". And if I/we accept "hi" as being just an opener, we are opening ourselves further to potential good friends just as much as *some* who might present a good intro dialogue, might turn out to be not so great. As mentioned though, I don't really enjoy small talk in itself though like people saying "How are you?" and not caring about the reply or even worse, see it a negative thing if you answer truthfully as I think if you don't want honesty, don't pretend or ask to begin with.
belenen ══╣dammit╠══
Oh that is interesting! I thought that all long-time LJers were down with random adding, but that was me globalizing my own experience again *sillyface*

I won't respond when people just say "hey" online. I find it mildly annoying in person and downright infuriating online. it feels like they are handing me a chore. "hey" reads to me as "I have decided we will have a conversation but you have to do all the work. go." UGH.
greenturnip ══╣╠══
From an autistic perspective, I found 'hi' and the 'how are you?' 'fine' ritual really annoying and meaningless for ages. Then I read about phatic language and social communication, and began to see it as a code. As a way of people acknowledging you, briefly letting you know they are friendly and want to keep you in their life, even though at that particular moment they don't want to engage in a deep conversation. So now I see 'how are you?' 'fine' as a code for mutual friendliness and acknowledgement and keeping someone in your life, rather than a fake, untruthful thing.

I don't like it when cashiers do it though, because they don't know me, and because it's hard to focus on both buying my groceries and participating in small talk. Fortunately in the UK, it's not so common - I found it very uncomfortable when I was in Canada.
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
*nods* I am working on changing my perspective on it now. Hopefully I can eventually perceive it that way too!
raidingparty ══╣╠══
When I want more social interaction, I often lead with, "Have any adventures lately?" or "Tell me a story."
belenen ══╣confused╠══
I like that question!

the statement would read as a demand and unless I REALLY liked you or you had told me a story first, I'd be irritated with it. Probably I'd reply, "you tell ME a story!" or "that is way too vague a prompt" with emphatic head shaking and furrowed brows.
raidingparty ══╣╠══
Other leading questions:
- What do you have planned for (weekend/holiday/something you know about)?
- What's new in your world?
- What has sparked your interest?
... can (and probably should) be tailored to your friends' personalities and vocabulary.

For what it's worth I think I've only used "Tell me a story" once or twice (although it was with close people). Someone who wasn't that close with me used to ask people to tell stories regularly, and I have to admit I was enchanted with the concept... and she got a lot of stories.

I got a switch-reverse on the "how are you?" yesterday. I said, "Have a good day," and they replied, "Oh, I'm fine!"
daphnep ══╣╠══
I found this article today, and thought of this post. It addresses the subtlety of single word changes on the answers a question elicits, but also covers the timing and, a little, the usefulness if that extra margin of greeting in the beginning of a convo.

Hope you enjoy:
http://ideas.ted.com/what-a-difference-a-word-can-make-how-a-single-word-can-change-your-conversation/?utm_campaign=social&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_content=ideas-blog&utm_term=social-science
belenen ══╣writing╠══
this is an excellent article! thank you so much for sharing.
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.