What IS this Facebook waving thing about? How is it preferable to being asked an actual question? With words.
Waving is something you do when you’re walking along and see an acquaintance across the street. If it’s a really close friend, you may cross the road and have a chat. Everyone else, you make the acknowledgement and move on your merry way. Clock is ticking. Everyone’s busy. We all have a life.
You may also wave when passing a driver on a single track road to thank them for moving out of the way. It’s the polite thing to do. Brownie points for being genteel and considerate. Perhaps even a brief smile if it was a particularly tricky manoeuvre. Look at me – I’m so polite, even though it was my right of way and if you hadn’t moved over, I would have chucked some very different hand gestures in your direction.
Or you may wave at a pedestrian who has dropped something, or who has forgotten to put their pants on, though there’s usually a fair bit of pointing going on as well.
You Don’t want to talk
Waving is used as a form of politeness, most commonly when you DON’T want to talk to someone, but don’t want to be so rude as to blank them completely. When you do want a conversation, you pick up the phone, or write an email. You ask specific questions depending on how well you know someone. You would never phone someone you barely know and call them to say ‘Just ringing to see how you are.’ Unless you fancy them.
But on FB this seems to be perfectly acceptable to people. Friend requests, when music fans, are accepted by me. I have to assume strangers know I’m a musician and are interested in some form. Complete creeps are rare and quickly eliminated. But a few people seem to think it’s ok to wave or just write ‘hello’ as if I’m a saddo who is in desperate need of friends. We all know who our friends are!
Waving has no meaning
Now don’t get me wrong – I love talking to people. I will always answer questions about my music, gigs etc. And some people, through time, and by being especially interesting or entertaining, have become online friends. Even they never ask me ‘how I am’ as if I’m looking for free counselling.
At least emojis have a specific meaning. The smiley face or thumbs up are polite indicators of friendly acknowledgement of a comment or sentiment. They are an appreciative full stop.
When someone waves at me on FB, they may as well send a question mark. It’s like you’re putting your hand up to answer an unasked question. ‘Me Miss!’ I think it’s a shame you can only wave back. Perhaps it’s time FB included other hand gestures as well.
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