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The Non-Greeting

Added: 06-12-2015

Latin Name: Greetus singreetus crudae

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The Non-Greeting

The non-greeting is observed as essentially rude. It occurs when the greeter completely ignores human compassion or dignity and immediately dives headlong into a request, opinion or exclamation of how busy they are. Even worse when the greeter is requesting something of the greeted such as work, food, favors or affirmation.

I was excited to read “Greet with the same or render a better greeting: Some translational discourse of Persian-Gulf-Arabic greetings” by one Lafi M Alharbi. It seems that the greeting one chooses to open a conversation with, and the subsequent respond by a greeter, can make a big difference to outcomes.

A few choice quotes: “… ‘greetings not only establish an atmosphere of sociability, they also communicate ideas’ (ibid:334)”. My favorite is that “Failure to fulfill one’s obligatory role during greeting exchange may consequently result in a social disappointment, which may vary from dismay to a more serious breach of social relations and perhaps cause to be in a physical danger as in Tuareg greetings in the Sahara desert (Youssouf et al 1976)” (p. 116). About that Tuareg handshake? The cited 1976 source is lovely. Apparently, the Tuareg traveller always runs the risk, in a greeting, that ” …there is always the danger than an unwary traveler can be suddenly pulled from his camel.”

Yeah, we don’t have to deal with that in the office culture. While non-greeting is not particularly deadly, it is certainly considered rude and-in this layperson’s opinion-may result in serious social disappointment.

Alharbi, L. M., & Al-Ajmi, H. (2008). Greet with the same or render a better greeting: Some translational discourse of Persian-Gulf-Arabic greetings. Iranian Journal of Language Studies (IJLS), 2(1), 115-146. Chicago. Retrieved from here

Youssouf, I. A., Grimshaw, A. D., & Bird, C. S. (1976). greetings in the desert. American Ethnologist, 3(4), 797-824. Retrieved from here