Years ago I had a friend from London who spoke very bluntly about everything. Because I am also, lets just say, very direct- we got along well.
He would often point out the many cultural differences between British and Americans. One of his pet peeves was when he would meet an American and immediately after the introduction they would say: “nice to meet you” he would tell me that those 4 simple words would irritate him to no end – as how could they possibly know that it was nice to meet him before they even have a chance to get to know him. Made perfect sense to me. But I just brushed it off as a habit and a cultural difference, two different ways of communicating.
It’s years later and I never really thought twice about the words “nice to meet you”.
I ran into an acquaintance in a restaurant recently. She was with a group of her friends and she introduced me to the ladies sitting at her table. After a few minutes of small talk, I smiled and said “nice to meet you” as I turned to leave. But not without overhearing them talk about me as I left. (I know what you’re thinking – what could they possible say negatively about ME??? –right? I’m such a nice person! ….It was something catty and typical of insecure women and completely rolled off me as usual- but not the point- and alas another blog).
But I could not help thinking to myself – was it really nice to meet them?
From the age when my kids learned to talk, I taught them proper manners from the basics of “please” and “thank you” to the now questionable “nice to meet you”. They have always held their own at the adult table with proper posture and napkin in the lap etc. (Ms. Manners would be proud.)
But maybe my British friend was right.
Perhaps we do jump the gun with our quick responses –that are set on autopilot.
Do what you say. Say what you mean. One thing leads to another. When the wrong word goes in the right ear I know you’ve been lying to me.
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