My mother-in-law takes issue with people here in the south. I especially notice her discomfort in the grocery store.
“Why was he talking to you? ” she says, speaking of the bagger, “Was he one of your former students?”
“Ewwww. They’re so syrupy sweet here. You know they don’t really mean it, don’t you?”
(Disclaimer: These are my mother-in-law’s stereotypes. Not mine.)
My Mother-in-law’s Theory: People in the north may be rude and keep to themselves but you can trust what comes out of their mouths. People in the south are phony and fake and have ulterior motives when they speak to you.
Of course, I disagree. I love the friendliness here. I find it real and reassuring that there are people trying to spread cheer in the world. I love the smiling hello greetings and the “thank-yews” when I leave the store. I take the friendliness at face value. Maybe because I’m right. Maybe because I’m just happier that way. But quite honestly? I don’t care. I’ll take my theory over hers any day of the week.
I’ve lived in both places, north and south. In the north for 21 years and the south for 27 years. And I’ve found phoniness in both parts of the country.
Our neighborhood has a Facebook page. And on this page, fellow residents (we have over 500) post their comments about upcoming activities, a heads-up about school fundraisers or about neighborhood amenities. My friend was fed up with some complaints about issues with the pool. So, she provided a disgruntled resident with a very fact based response, hoping to calm the resident down with what could be a highly charged issue.
It didn’t help. The resident responded with a snotty, juvenile comment and then concluded it with “Have a Great Day!”
Okay. We all know she didn’t really mean for anyone to have a great day. She was putting on her best syrupy, sweet, phony, sing-songy voice to say something she didn’t mean. She wanted to say, at best, “screw you” and at worst, “f-off.”
Throwing a “Have a nice/good/great day” at the end of a response when it’s clear you don’t mean it? So unnecessary. You aren’t fooling anyone. When you insist you really meant “Have a great day!”? No one believes you. We can see the snot through your sing-songy voice no matter if we’re from the north or the south.
Say what you mean and mean what you say.
How about say nothing at all?