It’s Not Weird to Say Hello


  You scan the aisles at Walmart, looking over the many brands of sugary cereal. You glance over your shoulder to see where your mom went, but instead you see a person from your school. Your first instinct is to quickly turn around and avoid eye contact, but then you start to wonder why you don’t say hi.
  “Hi,”  you say, summoning up your courage to come up to him or her. They give you a weird look, and mumble, “Um, hi.”

  They walk past you to aisle four, and you are left confused and frustrated. Is it weird to say hi?

  My answer to this question is absolutely not. It’s not weird to say hi, and you did a good job trying to greet your fellow classmate, although he or she was less than enthusiastic to see you.

  I’m sure this scenario is very familiar to many students and is considered normal. If you see your desk partner, your classmate in a group project or a friend’s friend, you aren’t supposed to say hi. It’s almost not socially acceptable to say hi to these people. Sure, there are some very extroverted people that have no problem throwing a big smile at someone they even slightly know, but most people, unless they’re very close, don’t say hi.

  Why is it considered so weird to simply greet others? I mean, sure, if two people are on bad terms even at school, it makes no sense for people to greet each other outside of school.

  However, even if that person worked on a group project with you, was your desk partner for a semester, or is just a person in class that you sometimes talked to, apparently it is “weird.”    

  But I’m here to say that no, it’s not weird to say hi to these people. One reason is that the word hi has a different meaning than how some people perceive it. Hi doesn’t mean “Be my friend forever. I really want to talk to you and I’m just dying to have a conversation with you.” Hi means “I am acknowledging your presence, because I am not on bad terms with you.”

  You don’t need to be best friends to say hi, and you don’t even have to say the actual word. You can throw them a smile, have a little wave or anything else, as long as you acknowledge their presence. It could really make someone’s day to have someone greet you, not ignore you when both parties know that the other exists.

 According to Mrs. Rojas,  “The teachers […] are trying to step out of our comfort zone to […] greet other students and make West Ranch a place where everybody feels comfortable and welcomed. So we feel that if we do it as examples, maybe that will then rub off on students.”

  Greeting those you are not familiar with can make someone’s day or just make them feel good. You also feel better, because someone throwing a smile back when you were expecting an awkward ending is always a relief — and can be an unexpected twist.

  High school is that “awkward stage,” and everyone knows it. It’s where you don’t say hi, you don’t greet people, you don’t even smile at people you know.

  There’s no reason not to say hi. You might as well say good morning to someone you don’t know or smile at a teacher you’ve never met. It’s not weird, it’s not strange, and doing so doesn’t mean you’re desperate for friends or looking for attention. Greeting people shouldn’t cause people to overthink it too much, and, instead, people should appreciate someone coming out of their comfort zone to talk to you. This would facilitate a more welcoming mindset, and it’s very long overdue. As people finally start to acknowledge each other’s’ existence, more people would smile in the morning and more people would start conversations, even if it’s their first time meeting.

  Maybe if everyone collectively comes to the mind-blowing revelation that, in fact, it is not weird to say hi, it would finally be accepted. Maybe the world will be a slightly more inviting place, not a place where people have to ignore the presence of other people to be considered normal.