There is something that has been on my mind a lot lately.
When is the right time to say "hello" when you are walking down a hallway towards someone? I have a workstation that is smack dab in the middle of a hallway. It's a long walk from one end to the other and there are not many "exit points". So when I turn the corner at one end and see someone else down at the other end of the long, lonely stretch I am faced with a dilemma. I could smile and wave immediately, but then I am left with the "what now?" issue. I have smiled and waved and there's still too much distance between us to say anything. Do we continued to walk towards each other in silence? Nothing to say and not even an initiatory wave to fall back on? -OR- do I avoid eye contact (like I haven't just seen them) and wait until we are closer and I can smile and wave.
Then there's the issue of when you do get closer - if you have waved right at the beginning and then ignored their existence until you are right up on them, then it's strange to suddenly turn friendly again and ask how they are doing.
Even if you take that route, you haven't slowed down your walk at this point so when you are close enough an exchange like this occurs.
A - How's it going.
pass by each other
B - Good.
keep walking away from each other.
It's as though "B" said in a rush, "I'm good. No time to slow down and ask you in return!"
Sometimes it's less stressful just to walk down the hall pretending you don't see each other and then hoping you'll reach your exit point before your paths cross. I think a lot of people would agree - I mean, judging by the number of people who join me in not waving and saying 'hello', I'd say I am far from alone in this viewpoint.
It's kind of the same reason I wait to get water in the morning and miss the 8:30 herd meeting at the watering hole. It's just awkward to figure out these social things.