Monday, February 18, 2008

First To Say "Hello"

I went to the mall today. Apparently, there is something wrong with my X chromosomes because I avoid the mall at all costs. I'm devoid of the "female shopping" gene. In fact, I don't remember the last time I went to the mall. No -- it wasn't at Christmas. It had to be way before that! (To pay for Christmas this year, I got a part time, seasonal job at Barnes and Noble. So, practically everyone, with very few exceptions, got something I could pick up there. The pay could be better, but the discount was really nice!)

But, a friend is having a birthday soon and I hadn't run across anything yet to get her. (No luck at the mall either! Which means I may have to go back and look some more or think of something creative.) Shopping for me is a sprinting event. First, you need to know exactly where you are going. Second, you devise the plan as how to get there and get out. Third, you only look at the things that jump out and bite you! Unfortunately, that technique doesn't always work.

I was walking briskly through Kohls, scanning things. A high pitched little voice exclaimed, "Hi!" I slowed and realized that the tyke in the stroller was talking to another woman who was passing. She yelled, "Hi!" again to the woman. As I neared, she shouted, "Hi!" to me as well. "Hi! Hi! Hi!" Being an all around kid-friendly person, I slowed and smiled and said, "Hi, there!" This delighted her. She turned to watch as I passed -- yelling her greeting. I waved and smiled.

Really, she was irresistible. Who could not respond to such a friendly greeting?

But it got me to thinking. I wondered if she will always be the kind of person who is the first to say, "Hello!" or if something will shift as she grows up. Honestly, I hope it doesn't.

I don't know that I was ever the kind of child who would go through a store cheerily shouting, "Hi!" I was pretty shy and reserved and didn't do much to call attention to myself. But I wish I had been that kind of child and I definitely wish I was that kind of adult.

Here is a question for you. Are you the kind of person who is always the first to say, "Hello" or are you the kind who waits to see what the waters hold? That is to say, the kind who waits for another to initiate.

I am the later. As I've thought about it today, I think it is largely fear based. There's less rejection if I don't "put myself out there" by saying, "Hi!" I think it also shows more of a concern with my comfort than yours. Who wouldn't want a friendly greeting?

With awareness comes responsibility. So, I guess I need to work on my friendly "Hello" for tomorrow. Who knows what will come of it when I am willing to risk and willing to put someone else's comfort ahead of my own? I think it is what God is calling me to.

So, let's start now -- "Hello there!"


MrsProverbs31 said...

Iniating the "hi" or conversation has never been my cup of tea. I guess, everytime I tried it, it came accross awkward and unatural. Sometimes I say "hi" and people just doesn't respond, they acted like I didn't even exist (my perception)so I felt bad and rejected.

I'm learning that that's not always the case. People are lonely and desire to communicate but doesn't know how. Most of everyone is just as afraid. And, it has nothing to do with race or gender.

So, iniating the greeting is a challenge, but it is not impossible.

Thanks for sharing your thought and for being transparent to us. Now, I don't feel so alone.

Heather@Mommymonk said...

Hi! My son is just like that and I do think it is a personality thing. Some of us have to work a little harder at initiating in relationships.

Laura said...

I am the first say "hi". I've never met a stranger and love all people! I can get your life story in 2.5 seconds if your willing! I enjoy getting to know people and yes, some don't like to talk. I just see it as a little more challenging! :-)

Lelia Chealey said...

I would say I'm one to initiate. Great insight though to those who struggle with something simple for me such as a greeting. I never looked at someone not responding or acknowledging me as an insecurity or fear. Thanks for showing me the "other side." ;)