Lost in my own private thoughts I saw a man walking towards me similarly distracted. For some unknown reason it behooved me to say, “Good morning”. He grunted, “Morning”
What? Wait! I believe that grunting is reserved for myself to give, not receive. There are others who willingly give a curt grunt that, while it acknowledges you, it also says “leave me alone”? But for some bizarre reason I thought that delight was left to me. To be the recipient is not something I’m fond of.
Have You Grunted Lately?
I suspect that most of us grunt hellos and goodbyes all too easily and frequently. We might just as well put a sign on our foreheads that warn others away…”today is not a good day and tomorrow isn’t looking good, either”.
Tell me why we do this? I know that I am guilty of it, especially in my younger adult days when I was still trying to understand my place in the world.
Is it because we have been hurt in the past and want to keep others at arms length and not let them close?
Is it because we are not confident and so put on a bold, even angry, front so others think that we’re OK and everything is under control? Or could it be because we are truly so wrapped up in our own thoughts, lives, and work that we don’t actually notice those around us and are irked when they intrude?
Are any of these the reasons that you grunt at someone? I have to be frank and admit that I am guilty of all three. But I suspect the main “raison d’etre” is because I never changed the course that young man took those many years ago and continued on keeping others at a distance. I will note that with marriage and children I have, fortunately, been reformed and have learned to care deeply for others.
But sometimes it is difficult to break old habits and we will give strangers a grunt; after all, we don’t owe them anything, right?
How Do You Feel When Someone Grunts At You?
If you’ve never been the “grunter” have you ever been the “gruntee”? As someone from a cartoon said many years ago (probably quoted it from somewhere), how does that make you feel?
- Have you deliberately got up in the morning with the intent to say and do something positive to everyone you met?
- Have you needed a smile or a small word of encouragement during a particularly dark moment?
- Or have you even had a normal day but are always willing to say hello or good morning to someone?
And you get “the grunt”!
What do you do with that? Do you walk away wondering why some people are cranky or not friendly? I know that whether I’m having a good or bad day to be met by a grunted hello is not always pleasant. In fact, it can sometimes turn me just as sour as the one who grunted; wondering, “what did I do to you?”
There’s no question that how someone greets us, and, yes, how we greet others can have a detrimental effect on us…both in that moment and even for the rest of the day!
What do you think this says about the importance of our connectedness and how we can so easily influence someone’s day?
Thoughts About What We Can Do – Besides Strangle Them!
Whether we are the grunter or the gruntee we always have control over how we act towards one another…regardless of which side of the bed we woke up on that day.
If You’re the Grunter
Stop and think how often you do this and if there are reasons why you do it. What does it say about you as a person? Is it a way of living or a momentary act based on what is going on at that time?
Sure, it’s a way to walk by someone quickly without any further commitment to the moment or it’s a way to let someone at work know that you don’t want to be bothered. But here’s my thought: how much more effort would it take to look that person in the eyes and acknowledge them as an individual worthy of at least a friendly hello?
If You’re the Gruntee
How does this make you feel when someone grunts in passing or as a way of telling you to leave me alone? How often have you said, “What’s their problem?” or “Someone is cranky today.”
Does it ruin the day for you or even turn you into a mirrored grouch as well? And then, with the next person you meet you now become the grunter.
This tells me that it does matter that we’re acknowledged…and in a friendly, respectful manner. If someone can affect us like this then we must realize that we can affect others in turn.
Can We Change? (Do We Even Want To?)
I’ve been reflecting since that morning when this fellow and I exchanged grunts. Why did I and why did he? And because the thought can lead the action, I’ve become more conscious of others as I pass them or greet them at work.
It’s but a moment…and that moment will have a lasting effect on our day and on their day.
If you could choose right now what you would do, which would you choose? What would be your preference when next you pass someone on the street and have the choice to grunt or connect?
To think the thought is to change the act.