The Nice Movement

Dave Haste
By Dave Haste Last edited 128 months ago
The Nice Movement
Work colleague

This weekend column is brought to you by the founders of Niceties Tokens, Liz and Pete of Team Nice.

48. Good Morning

Saying good morning is something that we all do; we all have our routines of who we say good morning to – our family, partner or flatmates, the newspaper man, our work colleagues. But we all have those people who we see every working day, but ignore. The woman who has the same bag as you, the man that always stands near the same spot that you do on the train. What makes us say hello to some people but not to others?

I did a survey of more than 50 people, and asked them who they said good morning to, and who they didn’t.

The results were that on average we said hello to 6 groups of people. Those groups included family/partners/flatmates, the coffee/newspaper seller, the receptionist at work, work colleagues who sit close by, the boss, and work colleagues that we encounter before 10am in the staff kitchen/toilet/lifts – so we are all very polite.

We are also a member of every one of those groups, with the exception of those who we trade with: coffee/newspaper seller and the boss (either to look worthy of a pay rise, to prove we got in on time, or if there is no ulterior motive, it’s because they sit close by).

But weirdly, the security guard/receptionist where I work tells me that only around 30% of people through the door in the morning actually say anything to him. As it’s a building with many companies inside, this security guard doesn’t belong to the same group that I belong to (my company), so could that be something to do with it? Whilst I say good morning to him, I certainly don’t say good morning to the other people that work for other companies in the building.

Why? I am not sure. I see them every day, so why don’t I say hello? Not that I feel bad about that, saying hi to everyone would probably be rather boring and superficial, but where does this subconscious code come from that makes us identify group membership with some but not others?

By Liz Akers

Last Updated 08 June 2008