End of greetings: should we mourn about it?

There was a time when greeting someone was expected. It did not matter if you knew the person or not.

That’s still common in the countryside where even strangers greet you with a smile.

In urban places, we prefer to greet only those familiar to us.

It’s not just that physical greetings are becoming rare, how often have you been called by someone just to greet you?

One would have thought with all the technology, greetings would flourish.

The opposite has happened. Why are we becoming so mean with greetings?  

One possible explanation is that as we become modernised, we limit the circle of friends.

They could be workmates, club mates, church mates or neighbours. The rest are „them“. 

We greet those who add value to our lives; they keep us company, cheer us up or help us. The rest are obstructions, strangers.

Technology is another distraction. We are too obsessed with our phones to notice other people. In the past, you greeted the person next to you in a bus or matatu. That often led to a conversation.

Today everyone is immersed in his or her phone. We used to greet fellow patients in hospitals and other places as we wait for service. Nowadays we get surprised if greeted.

Others think Covid-19 accelerated the death of greetings - after that we found greetings a nuisance. But not greeting someone unfamiliar had started long before Covid-19.

Have we developed fear for strangers? Could it be about mistrust?

Paradoxically, greetings for those familiar to us have been enhanced with hugs and pats. Even men nowadays embrace. It seems “mambo ni mawili” (two issues) - you either get lots of greetings or none. 

Greetings now mimic water, there is so much of it, most of it salty in the oceans.

The scarce drinking water is bottled and pricy. We prefer to greet those who can buy us something or complement our lives.

Some argue scarcity of greetings reflect a shift to impersonalisation. It’s a hallmark of sophistication or modernity. Some people think no greetings is better than mechanical greetings that do not come from the heart.

Greetings make us human, why are we letting our humanity fade? Have you noted how animals (including dogs meeting for the first time) greet each other? Why not us? Who do you greet and how? Talk to us…