Thursday, November 08, 2007

Hello. Or is it..."Hi"?

I'm not sure exactly where this post is headed tonight, or how it's going to sound to those of you who aren't crawling around inside my head, but I'm gonna ramble for a bit, and give it a shot. Stay with me, if you dare.

Question: When you greet people you run into in your everyday lives, be they co-workers or clients or associates or customers or random strangers on the street, what is your preferred form of salutation? I'm not talking about close friends or family, but people with whom you're less familiar.

Are you a "hello" person, or a "hi" person?

I've been conducting an informal study over the past few years, probably...with myself as the main subject, but many other unknowing participants involved as well. And one thing I've deduced from this study is that, even if I make a conscious effort to change my habit, I'm overwhelmingly more of "hello" person.

"So??" you ask.

Well...I've also been a bit curious as to the connection between hello/hi and introvertism/extrovertism.

For those of you who know me in person, here comes the most shocking, unbelievable statement you'll ever read about me on this blog or anywhere else:

I am an introvert.

(stunned, aren't you?)

I've taken those Myers-Briggs personality tests in the past, but can't remember what all of my letters were. You know the ones...they classify you as an ISFJ or an ESTP, or one of fourteen other combinations. The one letter that I'm 100 percent positive about is the "I". I'd have to lie like a rug on the test to ever see an "E" pop up.

Perhaps as another entry this month, seeing as how I'm this once-a-day kick, I'll take one of those tests again and post the results here.

But I think I may have invented a new category to include: the INAKTCE. (I Need A Keyboard To Communicate Effectively.)

What I've seen quite often in my research is that people who appear to be bubbling over with personality to spare are much more likely to shoot you a "Hi!" as you pass on the street or interact for a few minutes. Whereas people who are more reserved tend to choose "hellooo" or, if they're particularly quiet, even for introverts, a barely audible " 'lo."

There are exceptions, of course, and I don't have any concrete data to back up my theory. If I made up a couple spreadsheets and pie charts and bar graphs, I might be able to get some grant money for my study.

I can't stand the word "shy," but I suppose that's what I am. I much prefer "reserved," and can accept "quiet." And I despise the fact that being this way makes some people automatically consider a person to be aloof. (although...isn't "aloof" one of the coolest words in the whole entire dictionary? I think so.) Just because I'm not pushing and shoving to be the center of attention doesn't mean I'm disinterested or aloof. It just means that, um...I don't always have a lot of words coming out of my mouth.

Even among my closest friends, I'm usually most comfortable hanging a couple rows back. If I've got something to say, I certainly don't hesitate to speak up. But I don't have to be the loudest cymbal in the band. I'm more oboe.

Kind of a lot to chew on all because of two tiny words, isn't it?

So tell me...
Do you say "hello"?
Or do you say "hi"?

"Why can't we get all the people together in the world that we
really like and then just stay together? I guess that wouldn't work.
Someone would leave. Someone always leaves. Then we would
have to say goodbye. I hate goodbyes. I know what I need.
I need more hellos."


  1. I say Hi. There are exceptions, of course. If I don't know you well/don't WANT to know you well, or if I know you to be reserved, I might say Hello. I also say Hello in more formal occasions, but those are rare.

    Hi is shorter. Takes less energy. Plus, yes, I'm bubbly. (But I'm also highly uncomfortable around new people and I use my bubbliness to cover that up. I'm the poster child for foot-in-mouth syndrome.)

    Incidentally, I'm also a hugger. Most people are not huggers, and it makes them extremely uncomfortable, so I try to contain myself, but the need consumes me and it just bursts out of me and I can't help it. In fact, this summer, our financial guy came to our house. I went in for the hug right as he stretched out his hand and I got whapped in the entrails. I thought my mom was going to pass out. Had I been in his office, I would have shaken his hand. But he was in our house. He was good friends with my Dad. He's gone out of his way to help us since my Dad died. So I hugged him. I probably would've made out with him too except my mom REALLY wouldn't have liked that. Neither would his wife.

    So, what was the point? Oh yeah. I say Hi.

  2. Ggg - I know you'll find this shocking, given my extremely introverted personality ;o) but I say hi!! I feel like it's much more personal than hello - but I've always thought it was more about my midwestern way of talking than my personality. I had to laugh at the Myers Briggs reference, as I just had a conversation with a co-worker about them and she guessed exactly what my four letter combination was!! Not sure if that's a good thing or not - maybe just an indication that I "tested right."

  3. You had me at hello.

    That is me. Some of what you wrote describes me to a tee! Quiet, reserved, and yes - shy. That is me.

    However, get me behind a keyboard, and I'll open up to the world! There is no subject that is too taboo for me to tackle when I'm safely behind the non-threatening glow of the monitor.

    In recent months, I've taken steps to "come out of my shell" so to speak. And actually, I've done quite well with that on occasion. It's so not me though. And it's hard. But it is for the best. And I know my lovely wife appreciates it too, as it eases the burden off of her, if she doesn't have to be vocal for the two of us.

    So to Gregg, JJ and Rebecca, hi!

  4. By the way, how refreshing it is to be able to check out all the blogs everyday, knowing full well that there will be something new to read. Some of our blogs have been neglected for awhile. And I'm just as guilty. But I'm back! I may not be an official member, seeing as my first blog-a-day began on November 6th. But I'm in it for the long haul now. I couldn't even tell you when the last time was that I blogged four days in a row. Woohoo!

    And damn, that JJ is a hottie!

  5. I agree with Odobenus rosmarus. Some people look forward to a first date or a good movie. Or sex.

    I, however, am at home on a Friday night waiting for you asshats to update your blogs. That's what I look forward to.

    That and getting over this cold that's keeping me at home on Friday night, waiting for you to update your blogs.

  6. Oh! And yes. I am a hottie.

    If you like the socially awkward chubby type who makes questionable style choices and rarely brushes her hair.

  7. Gregg had me at hello.

    Hottie had me at "socially awkward."

  8. Since I am a member of the "dorkus malorkus" species and have watched far too much entertainment penned by Gene Roddenberry, I forgo both Hi and Hello and opt for a Vulcan-like "Greetings." This includes a stoney Nimoy face and dropping my voice down a full octave.

    And I wonder why I dated very little in high school.

  9. Um...

    ...'scuse me, Mizz JJ.

    I don't think that resorting to name-calling is going to make any of us over here in the western hemisphere update our blogs any more quickly.

    How rude.

    In fact...I'm finished here. Yep, I'm done. No more NaBloPoMo. I'm gonna take my blog and go home.

    (quick aside: "whapped in the entrails" made me laugh all. day. long.)

    Becky...yeah, I think I had you pegged for a "Hi." When I delve back into the Myers-Briggs a little deeper, I'll try to guess your four-letter combo.

    I'm pretty sure I've got one right already.