The other day I was in the parking lot at work and I noticed a new colleague parking her car. I had seen her around a few times but I had never actually spoken to her. I went over and introduced myself. The answer I got was "hi". Okay...maybe a bit awkward. I would think when someone introduces themselves to you that you should return the introduction. It's not like your name is a secret.
I need to tell you that she wasn't being rude as much as she just seemed unable to carry a conversation. So I said (hoping she would jump-start with a few more minutes talk) "I've seen in the hallway and the library, are you in _____'s class?" The answer: yes.
"Well, I just thought I would say hello and welcome you to our school..."
I swear that I am pretty good at reading body language. And there was nothing there.
I think this whole conversation is very indicative of the wider phenomenon where people can not speak to others in a sincere, polite and arms-length manner. At least not here in southern Ontario. I think this is a primarily a problem of the last twenty-five years. I mean, my parents were great at friendly small talk. I see people of that generation striking up conversations in the lines at Walmart. What is wrong with us that we can't do that too? And let's face it - it's not that we don't, it's that we can't.