I got introduced to this person in my neighborhood by a friend, and for a couple of times I said hi to him out of politeness. He also does not have a very close relationship with my friend. I don't have any interest to keep greeting him in passing so I just stopped doing that by avoiding him or pretending not to see him (I have little bit of social anxiety which could be a contributor). Similar situations has happened before. I would like to know if what I do is very inappropriate? And if so, are there any better options?

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    This is too broad without specifying the relationship between the persons' involved, which would be a deciding factor. Anyway AFAIK there is no law commanding greetings to anyone. – user3169 Aug 25 '17 at 22:55
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    By "greeting" are you simply meaning to say hello in passing? I can understand not wanting to have a conversation with someone every time you pass them, but if you just mean saying hello I would find it weird behavior and rude to not just give a nod, smile, say hello or something. I have seen people do this (purposefully avoid saying hello) and I take it as very odd and unfriendly behavior. I wouldn't treat someone I never met that way, much less a person I have actually met. If however it's more than a hello, then I see no obligation to act like you know someone well you only met. – threetimes Aug 25 '17 at 23:02
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    @user74315 - I would have more anxiety pretending not to know someone (or acting in such a manner) than just saying "Hi" and going on with my day. That might depend on the culture, though. If you were offended in any way by the person, then you might have a case. – anongoodnurse Aug 26 '17 at 2:31
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    @user74315 of course not "sentenced". I am saying if you act like you don't know someone that you have met, you should be aware they will take that as a meaningful thing & infer things about you due to lacking social etiquette. If a culture does not greet people, then perhaps not. Where I am from, it would be considered a meaningful thing to avoid saying hello and it wouldn't be looked upon favorably. I didn't write my local culture, just happen to live here. I could choose to not see it as odd, but that doesn't change that everyone else would. – threetimes Aug 26 '17 at 2:46
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    I think that in addition to specifying the culture, this question needs to express more of a goal. Does the asker care about the acquaintance's feelings or opinions? If so, exactly what feelings or opinions are they hoping the acquaintance has of them? It is impossible to answer the question without knowing what the goal is. – Slow loris Aug 26 '17 at 7:59

It would be odd if your decision is sudden, that is, if you had said hello yesterday and days before, and if you pretend that you don't know the person when you see them tomorrow, it would be odd. They might take it as a sign of something wrong they did to you, and start wondering why, or maybe even come up close to you to make sure if everything is alright.

It should die away gradually, for example, hellos should change into quick smile or nods first, and a few days later, just a glimpse at each other, and gradually you'll be back to being strangers.

I met a Watchman of the adjacent building to mine. He was nice and all, and I would often meet him on the way to my office and back. Initially I was okay with some quick hello and how are you talks, but it's not really to my liking to make it a routine.

Over a few days, I reduced it to just smile, or decided to walk through another route, which is fine by me.

And sometimes, I'm running late to work, so I don't even face his direction, but he'd understand I'm kind of busy.


I do not think "inappropriate" would be a term I would think of. What you have to consider though is what is considered normal etiquette where you live. It also likely matters if you are living in a large city versus a smaller community. It can change how that is interpreted considerably.

I live in the USA, Mid-West. I live in a small town. As such, here it is seen as odd behavior in an unfavorable light. It is seen so much this way I can easily give you an example. People that come to my home often have seen most of my neighbors outside enough to know who is and is not a neighbor. Last week I had a friend visiting. I went in the house to grab drinks and came back out. My friend asked me what is "up" with my "weird" neighbor. I ask what he means. He then goes on to tell me that this person walked past my home and appeared to purposely look at the ground as he walked by to "avoid" saying hello. I have no doubt he did. That is how that man is. It is seen as weird here. It causes people to wonder about him. They do infer something is "off" about him because his behavior is "off" to the common culture.

So walking by my house while purposely avoiding eye contact and avoiding saying hello isn't "wrong", and it's not even inappropriate. He is perfectly allowed to do so. He does so though while perhaps being unaware it causes people to have an odd view of him. This could be a problem for him in some cases. If something happened in the neighborhood, he could be someone they would automatically mistrust. When someone seems so purposefully closed off and like they actively seek to avoid contact, people are naturally prone to more suspicion of that person's intentions. And the thing is, this is probably the 5th or 6th person that has asked me that same question over the last several years. It's not one person's interpretation. And I have had other neighbors mention it as well, asking me what is "up" with him and have I ever spoken to him, etc. Honestly there is nothing weird about this man that I can see other than his obvious efforts to avoid speaking to anyone. I am not saying it's right that is how he gets viewed. I am merely sharing how culture matters in this regard and what other people expect socially.


Once somebody is introduced to you he/she becomes an acquaintance.

It is considered polite in many cultures to acknowledge an acquaintance when you meet, whether by nod/ smile/ wave/ brief greeting/ handshake/ brief chat, so you need to consider what is the typical behavior in your society, as many earlier answers have pointed out.

If you feel like ignoring the person it is your choice but they might misunderstand.

I have a bit of social anxiety myself and tend to avoid acquaintances, but I cannot ignore them when we come face-to-face. My typical solution (does not work every time) is

smile, wave or say hello, and keep movin'.


I think we all had some similar situation. What I do is always say Hi, in this case I know I'm not being rude or somehow offending him. If he wants he can start a small talk, otherwise he will just respond Hi and move on. At the end it's just a quick exchange of 2 words, nothing awkward, but it still depends on the level of your social anxiety. Anyway, I think that a simple Hi is never a bad thing

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