Saying What Most Every Human Hungers to Hear

They are two ordinary, uneventful, plain yogurt words.

They are among the first words we teach children and the first words we learn in another language.

But don’t let their mundanity fool you; Hello and Bye are among the more impactful things we can say to each other. They are words of acknowledgement. And there are some wonderful ways we can use them with each other.

If Lucy enters the room and we call out, “Hello, Lucy!” we have recognized her. In its best realization, we are letting her know this room is different, better for her being in it.

Seems small, right? But how many times do we enter a room and no one even looks up, let alone says something?

When Lucy leaves and we say, “Bye, Lucy!” we have recognized her departure. In its best realization, we are letting her know we notice this room is changed, lesser for her leaving it.

Again, seems small, doesn’t it? But how many times have we left a place and no one acknowledged our leaving? It’s like we weren’t even there.

It’s easy not to Hello and Bye people when they enter and exit. Why bother? we tell ourselves. It doesn’t matter, it would disrupt the noise level, they probably won’t hear us anyway.

Only they will hear. We would hear, wouldn’t we? We are desperate to hear that we have been noticed. Hello and Bye are a way of telling someone, I see you. You being here matters.

And it’s incredible, isn’t it? Two monosyllabic words that most toddlers know can say what most people hunger to hear.

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