Avoiding Awkward Situations Perfecting Hello Eliza Hurwitz

Last week, I talked about the appropriate/cool/non-awkward way to say goodbye. This week, I’m going to go backward and discuss the art of a good hello. Saying hi is a little trickier than goodbye. With goodbye, you have had the whole conversation to gauge the correct approach; sadly, hello doesn’t grant you this. Hello is about going with your instincts, being consistent, courageous, and unabashed. Here are some ways to do just this.

Pure Pluck and Perspective:

Being brave is the key to a good hello. I used to think of saying hi as a real-life, not as dangerous version of “chicken”. Two people, heading straight towards each other; who would be the first to say something? I would avoid eye contact in hopes that neither of us would say anything, but that was never the case. My conscience/anxiety would win the battle against my desire to go unnoticed and would cause me to wait until the last minute to wave and utter a barely audible hello. Uncertainty was evident in my high-pitched, questioning tone.  After years of terrible hellos, I decided that I needed to change my perspective.

Rather than think of hello as something to whole-heartedly avoid, try to think of it as the right thing to do. Just think about it. It’s nice to have someone recognize you, so why wouldn’t you want to do the same for someone else?

Pure Preparedness/Practice:

Deciding on a set way you’d like to say hi to people is extremely helpful in your pursuit of a good, strong hello. It could be a simple “hello” with a smile or “hey!” with an enthusiastic wave and even bigger smile, or it could be a “Hi!” with a gigantic smile, mouth practically wide-open. Although you may think this looks crazy and actually, it does look mildly insane, people will appreciate your enthusiasm and pure, somewhat scary level of happiness, as well as your consistency. And of course, practice makes perfect. You can refine your standard hello a couple different ways. Saying it by yourself in front of a mirror is always a great option. Don’t want to tire your voice out? Easy! Use a tape recorder, record your perfect hello and just practice your wave and mouthing the words. Another great way to practice is by saying “hi” to random people you don’t know. They might find this alarming, but what do you care? You’re busy practicing!

If routine bores you, then having a standard way of saying hello won’t work for you. You’re going to need to have a couple of different hello templates to work from. You should just make sure you practice your different hello inflections with the appropriate gestures.

Pure Pepped-up Pace :

Although hello doesn’t allow you a full conversation to determine how it is best said as goodbye does, hello has the added bonus of being sudden and quick. Because of its immediacy, if your hello isn’t quite up to par or if you are just having an awkward day which is reflected in your hello, you can just run from it. There’s no need to explain to anyone why you said hi like a young boy going through puberty. Just flee. Fast.

With a new outlook on hello, it’s time to get practicing. And just in case practice doesn’t make perfect, you might want to invest in a good pair of running shoes.

Feature image via we heart it.

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  1. The most imporant thing I learned about “Hello” is that it’s so much better and more sincere than “Hey, how’s it going?” Especially with co-workers or acquaintances whose first language is not English, because they tend not to understand that I’m not REALLY interested in how they are doing, but just simply saying “hi” a different way (sorry if that sounds rude, I’m just being honest! I’m in a hurry, OK?)… Plus, I think “Hello” is such a fun word to say, and saying it with a smile on your face instantly lifts your mood and makes you happy. No need for anxiety! You’re right in that if you’re having an awkward day, it can be reflected in your “hello,” so fake it til you make it! :)

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