Tag Archives: social

The Nigerian Scam Greeting

The Nigerian Scam Greeting is one designed to fleece gullible, well-intentioned individuals of their hard-earned cash.

The greeting begins: “Dearest friend, best beloved, sir/madam, this may come as a surprise, but my dearly departed great uncle’s neighbor’s dog’s best friend’s in-law’s pet rock left him US $48,000,000 in stocks, bonds, gold and cowry shells that he wishes to leave to you, if you will only forward US $2,500 to my surprisingly anonymous bank account.”

“Due to United National UNICEF Federal Ministry of Financial Financey Finance’s legal mumbo jumbo, section A.B.123, this must be kept top-secret and you should contact me urgently, instantly and immediately.”

Just don’t make a fool of me!

You’d think that people are on to these, the classic Nigerian Scam greetings, but apparently, in 2014, it was an $84B industry! Jikes.

The Single Kiss

The Single Kiss Greeting

All who like kissing, pay attention! In some parts of the work, kisses are as normal as an American handshake…and it isn’t only amongst “them silly youth”. In Mexico, everyday greetings are sealed with a single kiss to the cheek. “Hola!” says ones, with a kiss; “Qué tal!” says the other, with a kiss in return. In Roman times, kisses in greeting were even more-ahem-explicit: a kiss to the mouth betwixt friends of equal rank was the status quo. Redditors say: eew!

Though those Romans might have had something going, culture has its swings. In fact, kisses were, for a time, a bit of a sin. Yuk. Imagine that: kissing a sin! Good word, then, media must sin with the best of ‘em. Ha!

The Kodak Moment

The Kodak Moment

So picture perfect that it’s plastic — like a politician! The Kodak Moment greeting happens when the person you wish to greet notices your approach, stops, poises, and awaits. Yes, awaits you, hands on hips like a triumphant Napoleon or Washington, or soon-to-be-ousted shady CEO, for you must walk… to them.

If Kodak had selected a picture-perfect post, this would be it. GQ models, shudder. Dishonest politicians, take note! This is your model.

Give Dap

The Dap Greeting: Known Secret Handshake

Rad! This greeting happens when two people mutually understand how to move their hands and bodies in unison so as to signify membership in the same subculture or group. Unlike other greets, we can trace the origin of this guy. Specifically, the term (and practice) of giving dap (or “Known Secret Handshake”) originated during the Vietnam war as a way for soldiers to signify their solidarity. 

Nowadays, it’s definitely an act of solidarity for your own little subgroup to have its own dap handshake. World leaders have them. How about you? Don’t have one yet? Get on the dap train! Invent and spread your known secret handshake today! 


Unwanted Greeting

The Most Unwanted Greeting

Go away! Scram! Be gone! The unwanted greeting is the greeting given to the busy, distracted or otherwise focused person. Imagine trying to greet a neurosurgeon while she’s operating on little Timmy’s prefrontal cortex, or a nuclear submarine driver while they are steering through a narrow trench to confound their frenemy.

The greeter, nonetheless, greets the neurosurgeon, which distracts her from her work. Little Timmy wakes up with the ability to smell colors. And, this greeter, despite the situation, greets the sub driver. The driver falters, and the submarine accidentally enters Captain Nemo’s cave.

Yes, this is an unwanted greeting given at the most inopportune time. Sometimes, the outcome is detrimental… and sometimes, one might find gold!

The Entirely Appropriate Greeting

The Entirely Appropriate

A greeting in which both the greeter and greeted would rate the quality of their as greeting “nice” on a scale of one to five, with one as “omg bodily repulsive” and five as “why I live, breathe and write passionate, but poor poetry about red roses”. My 8th grade English teacher railed against the word “nice” for, in her opinion, it expressed nothing of descriptive value. I agree!

The Greeting Denied

The Greeting Denied

Full of passionate hope, a greeter seeks acknowledgement by a greetee. The greeter makes wide-eyed contact and gives the kind of hopeful expression a child might use when seeing Bambi, a shiny toy on the shelf of a store, or a jelly donut. But it’s not to be, for despite eye contact, the greetee distinctly turns their back in such a way to deny further communication.

“Father McKenzie writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear / No one comes near”

Wow. Rejection and loneliness are a terrible; so state Cacioppo et al (2009) by writing that “[t]he health, life, and genetic legacy of members of social species are threatened when they finds themselves on the social perimeter.” In fact, rejection and loneliness lead to both emotional and physical pain which, in turn, can have a significant detrimental impact on how individuals perform on a variety of tasks. Including life, for lonely individuals don’t live quite as long (Luo et al, 2012).

Coping mechanisms? Let’s start with the meanie who turned their back. “You! Yes, you! Stand still laddy… ” and be a charitable fellow! Next time, say hi. Rejected person, what do you do? If the fellow isn’t charitable, make like a presidential candidate and kick ’em in the behind. Or don’t, because that would require stooping very  low indeed. But, do buck up and find better friends.

Cacioppo, J. T., & Hawkley, L. C. (2009). Perceived Social Isolation and Cognition. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 13(10), 447–454. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2009.06.005. Online here.

Luo, Y., Hawkley, L. C., Waite, L. J., & Cacioppo, J. T. (2012). Loneliness, Health, and Mortality in Old Age: A National Longitudinal Study. Social Science & Medicine (1982), 74(6), 907–914. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2011.11.028. Online here.

The TMI Greeting

A greeting in which one party (or the other; greeter or greeted) exchange information that is personal, private or uncomfortable in nature: “Hey, didja hear about my kidney function?” or “Wow, that lunch burrito went the wrong way”. This, you might say, elicits a disgust response.

What is disgust? It’s a response that “ …caus[es] us to recoil from reminders of our animal nature.” The appropriate reaction to a TMI greeting? Try one of benign masochism; that is, laugh at the icky thing one has been told so as “… take pleasure in the fact that [one] can rise above… animal instincts” (Rozen et al, 1999). But then, that’s rather animal too; and doesn’t show much compassion. You choose.

Rozin, P., Haidt, J., & McCauley, C. R. (1999). Disgust: The body and soul emotion. Handbook of cognition and emotion, 429-445

OMG iPhone Greeting

The OMG iPhone Greeting

This is a greeting in which the greeter attempts to greet one who is utterly, totally, completely and intensely adsorbed in an iPhone. In an affront to one’s good manners, this greeting may go unreciprocated. Or, the greeted may be sufficiently surprised so as to look up and exclaim, as if blameless: “Eeh?” Your response: OMG iPhone! You think to yourself: at least your friend didn’t walk off cliff or run a train off the tracks… this time!

Let’s explore. Psychologically-speaking, we have a fun combination of the addictive qualities of devices and media, coupled with the detrimental impacts of multi-tasking. At the very least. Let’s poke a bit at distraction.

No matter how many digital things we surround ourselves with, humans have biological limits that researchers trying to understand. Attention is finite. Just et al (2008) coaxed research subjects into an MRI to understand how their brains handled distraction while driving in a simulator. How’d they fare?

OMG predictably! Driving quality suffered. They wrote that “we interpret this diversion of attention as reflecting a capacity limit on the amount of attention or resources that can be distributed across the two tasks. This capacity limit might be thought of as a biological constraint that limits the amount of systematic neural activity that can be distributed across parts of the cortex.” (p. 6)

While we’re talking about this article, one aspect of academic writing that I love is the use of “may”. Here, we can see an example (emphasis added):

“it may be dangerous to mindlessly combine the special human capability of processing spoken language with a more recent skill of controlling a large powerful vehicle that is moving rapidly among other objects.” (p.6)


So… Where does this leave us? Look, when you may want a good conversation, leave that mobile phone behind – in your bag, or if you really want to be sure about it, you may pop it into the friendly blender.

p.s. For a fun experiment, evaluate performance on the Interactive Stroop Effect test.

Just MA, Keller TA, Cynkar J. A Decrease in Brain Activation Associated with Driving When Listening to Someone Speak. Brain research. 2008;1205:70-80. doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2007.12.075. Available online.
High Five Greeting

The Silent High Five

The Silent High Five is a greeting given by physical contact; open palm of greeter to open palm of greeted, struck quickly. It often lacks verbal preemption (but may be followed-up with verbal reinforcement. “Rock on” and “way to go” are common accompaniments.

Ostensibly, we can thank jazz musicians for their invention of the five, or “giving skin“. As King (1968) wrote of the five, it is “… the jive set’s seal of approval, the jazz equivalent of the Congressional Medal of Honor” (p. 207). So hey, let’s dig a bit.

Touch-being touched by another, or touching another-is an immensely important to human development. Foundational scientific research was conduced in the 1920s. In one work, scientists confined a group of post-operative rat babies to a cup, whilst they provided others with maternal contact. Food and sunlight were kept equal. The experimenters wondered: which rats would recover from their operation? So, what happened? The rats attended by mom did AOK… and ostensibly participated in researchers’ future experiments. What about the rats raised in a cup? Their lives concluded er… decisively.

Despite this (and other) research, humans have interpreted the science variously. In 1928, John B. Watson, a popular (yet radical) psychologist, wrote this choice piece in his seminal parenting book Psychological Care of Infant and Child :

“If you expected a dog to grow up and be useful as a watch-dog… or for anything except a lapdog, you wouldn’t dare treat it the way you treat your child. When I hear a mother say: ‘Bless its little heart’ when it falls down, or stubs its toe… I usually have to go for a little walk to let off steam. Can’t the mother train herself when something happens to the child to look at its hurt without saying anything…?” (p. 74)

And, oh my! Watson wrote this choice piece a few paragraphs later:

“… If you haven’t a nurse and cannot leave the child, put it out in the back-yard a large part of the day. Build a fence around the yard so that you are sure no harm can come to it. Do this from the time it is born… no child should get commendation and notice and petting every time it does something it ought to be doing anyway” (p. 75-76).

Actually, the entire chapter book is worth a read, for it shows how child-rearing philosophies differ across time, place and culture. Watson’s ideas are not entirely without merit. For example, he describes the importance of giving kids materials to make toys, rather than the toys themselves. Interesting! Ultimately, who’s to say which child-rearing approach is best?

Nonetheless, the results of science tell us that touch, and physical interaction, helps development and human experience (Ardiel et al., 2010).  Thus, the High Five greeting is not simply a greeting. It’s a congratulations, a celebration and a fantastic way to help colleagues, friends and others feel wanted, needed and comforted.

Go give someone a #HighFiveGreet today!

King, L.L. (1968). … and Other Dirty Stories. World Publishing Company

Ardiel, E. L., & Rankin, C. H. (2010). The importance of touch in development. Paediatrics & Child Health, 15(3), 153–156. Online here.

Watson, J. B. (1928). Psychological care of infant and child. Online here