I am constantly surprised when people abuse morning greetings. Perhaps they had poor childhood modeling or perhaps it is their personality. But morning greetings are not a time to tell us how you feel!
It is amazing how many different ways people can inflect the simple words “Good Morning”. This post would be best done as a podcast where I could imitate all the varieties. But imagine people at your place of employment who creatively insert their feelings into the simple words “Good Morning” and add things like:
- God, I’m so damn tired.
- Yeah ‘good’ for whom? Life sucks right now.
- I wish I weren’t here!
- I feel crappy.
- I hate this place.
- I had a horrible night sleep.
- Damn, I hate these cramps.
- Sure, life is great for you — who cares!
“Poor me” greetings are OK if they are rare, but some people are chronic abusers of the courtesy agreement behind morning greetings. I have explained this to my children a few times, and given a few of our younger employees a talk on the purpose of “Morning Greetings”;
“Look,” I’d say, “everyone has shit going on in their lives. It is arrogant and selfish to assume it is just you who is unhappy on any morning. Our morning greetings are a way to acknowledge our common walk through life, to be polite for just a moment during yet another day and acknowledge that your feelings are not the center of the world.”
Some people get it, some don’t.
If nothing else, we should certainly remember courtesy in our morning greetings — this is a good place to begin the practice of remembering others. Thoughtfulness is hard to do all day long, but we can use morning greetings as a time for awareness: a time to hold up the feelings of others for a five-seconds.
(Note to readers: I have moved the part about harsh comments to the next post because they were separate issues.)