Can’t call? Don’t say hi.

I got an email from a friend the other day. He had seen a guy I know the day before. He wrote in his email: “‘So and so’ says hi.” I know we all do this, but when you think about the act of asking a third party to say hi to a friend of yours, well, it’s actually an insult. What you’re saying is, “I don’t have the time or inclination to call or write you myself, so I’m saying hi via this other person who knows nothing about our relationship.” Now, that’s sincere. Right? The Rule: Don’t ask a friend to say hi to another friend. Make the call yourself. Otherwise, keep your mouth shut.

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3 responses to “Can’t call? Don’t say hi.

  1. I agree, Erik. How much times does it really take to pick up the phone or email a friend and say, “hi, how’s it going?”
    A very good friend of mine, the poet Naomi Shihab Nye, and I met 15 years ago and we became heartfelt friends immediately. She lives in San Antonio and I in Michigan, and it is not often that we get to see each other, especially with her frequent national and international travels. She emails me from the most exotic and often remote places.
    Naomi ran into someone in Texas who new my brother. (He does business there, but lives in Michigan. This was cool, as their paths would not have normally crossed considering their respective careers even through a third party.) She did not tell the person to tell my brother to tell me she said hi. She immediately emailed me simple lines: “Hey, I got an email from (so and so) who knows your brother. Thinking of you. XOXO.” I smiled.
    My brother and Naomi’s friend had discussed our friendship. Question: Would I have been upset if during these conversations my brother said, “Judith, Naomi says hi?” Probably not. But it would have been somewhat puzzling. I would have also expected to soon hear from Naomi or I would have contacted her myself. I guess it is the relationship that matters. It is the mutual feelings and respect that you share that not even a third party “hi” could diminish.
    Hi Erik!

  2. yes, judith, i think you said this better than i did. it is a matter of making the time. i agree i wouldn’t be upset to have some relay a ‘hi’ to me, but that act just reminds me of how important it is to carve out the time to say hello over the phone, or in person. it’s just too easy to say ‘hi’ through someone else, and being that easy makes it less meaningful than reaching out yourself.
    hope you’re having a fabulous day.

  3. So true! It’s the small things that really matter most and its the cumulative effect of such things that engenders kindness in the heart. Carving out that time to say hi can be oh so sweet for that person on the other end of the phone. I’ve been such a receipt countless of times. How sweet it is…indeed.