August 02, 2010

Social Norms

Let's say you have a 25-minute walk to work every morning. And let's say that at different points along this 25-minute walk, you pass the same people.

Is it socially acceptable to say good morning and/ or make small talk with these people in passing?

I ask this because Barney's lessons in manners didn't quite prepare me for this situation.

On one hand, these people are a part of our daily lives and we are a part of their lives. We share a common human experience of walking in the same spot of the world everyday. We recognize each other and we're aware of an intimate part of their daily routine. Plus, communicative interaction is one thing that sets us apart from most of the rest of the animal kingdom.

But then again, it's a little uncomfortable, don't ya think? It's not like you're going to stop your commute to work to have a meaningful convo with these people. You don't even know their names! They could be a Level 10 Creeper for all you know. If you do say anything more than "Good morning", the person is likely to have already walked past you, making conversation even more difficult.

Personally, I think a quick "hello" is plenty. It's polite and concise and far better than ignoring the person's existence all together. But anything more than that is a little too creepy for me. Did you hear that, creepy-middle-age-man-that-walks-by-me-every-morning? Commenting on something scrawled across my chest is not appropriate, even if it is my place of work.

What do you think?


Beth said...

Super Creeper! Do you need Dad to come kick some butt?

Patrick said...

No need for that, I'm already on it :)