How Do You Do? How Do I Do What?

Our lives are filled with many scripts – little snippets designed and supported by our culture. How great is it that we don’t have to stop to think what to say with each new person we meet! Cultures are masterful at making social interactions easy because they know that integration and smooth operations guarantee the group’s survival. Providing us with greeting menus (What’s up!) and good-byes (See ya!) help us show one another that we are friend, not foe. 

Obviously these vary across the globe and often we see pronounced regional differences. Since my move to Philadelphia a few years ago, strangers greet me everyday with “Hon.” These idiosyncratic gestures are like little reminders that I am in a new environment. We experience the culture immediately – and soon find ourselves returning greetings in their language. A sign of respect – and it is fun.

As social beings, we thrive when we feel connected. Honestly, when a stranger greets me – I feel something. Like walking through bubbles instead of razors. Nice soft nudges. The handshake was supposedly developed to show the absence of a weapon. Truce – although we don’t know a lot about one another, we can promise this …..

Children need to learn the full range of social scripts if they are to move freely in their world. All those little displays of respect and good wishes give them confidence and grant them access. Often children raised in poverty lack these basic tools. Feeling (and acting) awkward in the most basic social situations starts to take its toll early as kids start breaking into cliques. 

The coronavirus pandemic has taken some of the most basic protocols from our daily routines and people are already adjusting in creative new ways. I can’t wait to see how we smooth out those edges. Aloha!

Here is a unit from Conversation Guidelines

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