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Thinking Out Loud

Exchanging Pleasantries

Idle conversation (such as in the supermarket with the staff) is often referred to as “exchanging pleasantries”. Is that still an accurate description of the interaction?

I was reminded this morning, whilst doing some grocery shopping, of our different styles of speech for any given situation. We all change the way we speak (and communicate) depending on the environment we are in and the response we might be getting from other parties.

Idle conversation (such as in the supermarket with the staff) is often referred to as “exchanging pleasantries”. Is that still an accurate description of the interaction? Not in my observation this morning.

I listened in on a few interactions this morning. “Hope it doesn’t rain all day”; “I’m glad I don’t have to come shopping every day”; “I hate having to wait for service here”; “Did you see the mess those vandals left outside?”……..none of them particularly pleasant or really worthy of instigating an exchange.

How different a response you get if you instigate the exchange (with a staff member) by something more pleasant such as “I just can’t decide which olives to get – they all look tasty. Do you have a suggestion?” or “You must get very tired standing on your feet here all day”……you get the picture I’m sure.

So my mission today is to make my exchanging of pleasantries more focused on being pleasant.

Food for thought – so to speak!