Sunday, May 28, 2017

I nod, you nod, we all nod

I call it The Nod.
The Nod is when you are walking down the hallway at work, or down the street and you see someone you know, but not very well.
Usually, it is an upward nod for an acquaintance.
And how much you do the up nod depends largely on how well you know the person.
If it is someone you have seen once in a while, there is just a slight upward nod to say yes, I recognize you, but don't really know you. But because we both sort of know each other, social convention dictates we acknowledge each other, so I am sending you the up nod to say I know you, just not very well.
The better you know the person, the bigger the up nod.
A full head tilt means I know you to the point there have been a few conversations, but you are not exactly on my Christmas card list. However, there is a personal connection and I am acknowledging that.
Then, there is the up nod with a smile or perhaps with even a “Hey” thrown in.
This is for people of an even higher social status, but are still not at the point of being considered a friend.
However, their presence is important enough to warrant a full up nod and a vocalization that I see you there, I have some sort of connection to you and in general I would consider it a favourable connection.
There is also the down nod.
The down nod is almost exclusively for those people you don't know at all.
Perhaps you are walking down the street and happen to make eye contact with someone who is also walking down the street.
Rather than stare at each other awkwardly, social convention has developed the down nod.
The down nod says several things:
  • I see you and acknowledge that you are in fact, alive.
  • That you exist on the same planet as I do and because we made eye contact – intentional or otherwise – it is polite to acknowledge that we are both alive and living in the same community even if we don't know each other and will likely never see each other again.
  • It is sort of an “Attaboy for being alive” kind of greeting.
There are numerous variations of the up nod/down nod. And they can be altered to best suit whatever situation you may find yourself in.
You could run into someone you have known for a long time, but don't like. That is when the down nod is acceptable.
But nodding is mostly used for face-to-face encounters.
While operating motorized vehicles, there are other forms of non-verbal communication that can be employed.
We all know what the No. 1 signal is for drivers, but only slightly behind is when you use all five fingers to wave.
Cut someone off in traffic? No problem, a little wave of the hand means I see I cut you off and I acknowledge the fact I did so, but I gave the little wave so that's means it's OK because I just apologized.
Whether the other driver accepts the apology is determined by how many fingers are used to wave back.
If it involves two or more, all is good. The driver is not offended and realizes stuff happens. If they wave with only one finger, then they are not in a forgiving mood.
Cut someone off in a parking lot?
Give them a little wave and all is good.
Nearly hit them backing up in said parking lot?
Pull out a little more than than you should have, causing them to touch the brakes and have a hostile look on their face?
Run over their garbage can, flower box and garden gnome?
Wave and you are good to go.
Well, that last one may require a little more than a wave.
Perhaps a wave and a nod.

Copyright 2017 Darren Handschuh


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