Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Look in the Hall

I have a situation and I need to know what is kosher. What is politically correct. What is the most proper. The best manners. The appropriate business etiquette. Or at the very least, what is most common.

Where I work there are a lot of halls. Really long halls. Lots of little cube centers separated by extensive halls. Each department is on their own but attached to the next department by a hall. So, to get from here to there or from hither to yon, or from near to far, one must traverse a hall.

Now, there are a lot of employees in this building that must navigate these passageways. And so as we travel down the never ending hallway, what do we look at? It's not as though this is a very exciting, visually stimulating corridor. Just a plain ol' walkway.

Say it's just me, and it's just you. And I don't know you from Joe Shomoe. I probably have never seen you before, and may never see you again in spite of our relative proximity. I have to walk a good hundred feet or so before I even pass you directly by.

Do I look you in the eye? If I do, do I say hello? If I say hello, where do I look after that? If I don't say hello, how long do I look at you? Do I ignore you completely and look down at my feet and risk appearing meek and just shuffle along, or do I look straight ahead and stride directly past you and chance seeming arrogant?

I think about this as I wander along to go to the bathroom. Or go to the ATM. Or to get water. Or buy some lunch. Otherwise, I just try to stay holed up at my desk.

I just want to do the right thing here, people! I'm generally a pretty friendly person. Though I tend to be very shy around strangers. It just always feels so very awkward.

Advice please.


Jean said...

Here's what I'd do (even though I have no halls I traverse daily as you do). Look at them just before passing (if they're not with someone or talking to someone...that may seem kinda odd), if they look at you, say hi and smile and just keep going. keeping in stride, not slowing or picking up the pace. If they don't look, then no need to worry. If they don't say hi back, well, that's their problem.

anne said...

But what about before I look at them?! What about after!?

Kelly said...

Look at your watch, or count the floor tiles, or glance at the papers in your hand, until you get about ten paces from the person walking towards you. At that point, make eye contact and nod, smiling. If you pass the person often, and they look likely, venture a "hi" as well. When you've passed each other, say, ten times, stop smack in your path beside them, stick out your hand, and say, "Good grief! It's time I introduced myself. I'm Anne!"

This is EXACTLY what I would do, but you may not want to listen to me, because I'm the person currently sitting at home, wearing jammies and cruising online for anybody who will love me. =o)

anne said...

A-ha! My watch! Genius! And carry papers wherever I go. Look busy and important and like I have somewhere I need to get to, but then make time for them and give them a chance to smile too!

Good call!

Oh, and I will love you. :) And be jealous of you in your jammies!