What to do when your greetings fall on deaf ears? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
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What to do when your greetings fall on deaf ears?

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Question: “I get joy out of saying good morning to co-workers. Not everyone is a morning person, but I think it’s rude not to acknowledge someone when they speak to you. What should I try to connect with the silent few who don’t respond?”   —Not a part of the furniture

{ 104 comments… read them below or add one }

Good November 9, 2017 at 8:49 am

I had a colleague who would be on his phone avoiding trying to say good morning, apparently in the middle of business conversations. At the end of the convo he would say to me “good morning” and I would say “I wondered when that was going to happen/ you were going to get round to it”. But at least, heigh ho, he said it.
Others (especially other women) are just plain rude. You come in to the workplace and say in a jolly manner “good morning” and they give you the stink eye. Usually I’ve found it’s because they’re small, fat, ugly cows – probably hat themselves so much that they don’t feel they deserve your goodwill in the first place – so hey, why should YOU make the effort!?


Katie Joy August 15, 2017 at 6:05 pm

I work in a male dominated field. I also work in a cubicle setting. A female, on my team, never initiates greetings or ‘good byes.’ I finally found it tiring to always be the one who tries/initiates. Recently, in the breakroom, she glanced up from the sink and looked surprised to see me. Her statement? “How are you? I never see you!?” Dude, we sit 12 feet from each other.
Saying ‘hi’ and ‘bye’ takes very little effort. I don’t get it.


Lexi August 10, 2017 at 11:40 am

One thing that some may not be realizing is that many individuals get distracted easily and this can be a problem in a work environment. Concentrating does not come easy to everyone and when others say “good morning” (no matter how polite of a person they are) and expect a reply, direct eye contact, etc, it can be detrimental to the productiveness of the employee who is trying to work. Now, it can be argued that simply saying “good morning” back is quick and it obviously seems like the polite thing to do. Clearly we all want to work in a peaceful and uplifting environment, and no one likes to be ignored. However, case studies show that it takes certain attentive people, on average, 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back into their work flow every time someone distracts them with “good morning” or any other distraction not related to the work that the individual is working on at the time. A simple disruption can literally alter a person’s cognitive processing abilities and cause issues to their work flow and ability to be productive. Neurology has proven, in multiple ways, that not everyone has the same brain and not everyone is wired the same way. Some may be able to change focus easily and get right back to work, but again, this is not a luxury that everyone has.

The courteous thing to do is to get to know your coworkers and learn how best to interact with them. Interacting is not just about the person who begins the interaction; it is about all of the people involved, so everyone’s needs and feelings should be considered. If there is an employee who grunts back at you in the morning, or ignores you completely, try waiting until later in the day to engage them. Maybe give them an hour or two, to get their day in order, then say “hello” later as you walk by. Perhaps you will get a different response and you will have nurtured your relationship with that person by showing that you have the ability to consider their time management concerns as well as their feelings.

On the other hand, if someone is consistently distracting you in the morning, and it is causing an issue for you, instead of being rude and ignoring the person (your foul mood can ruin another person’s good morning; remember they are only saying “good morning” to be kind to you, not to irritate you), stop and politely explain to them the reason why you would like them to discontinue doing this. Clearly this page’s question and comment section has ruffled feathers because some people don’t understand why you are being so stand-offish and disrespectful. Your actions of grunting and ignoring them are not helping them to get along with you better; instead it is just coming across as you being impolite (even if you see them as the one who is being impolite; they can’t read your mind).

Ask them to pass by you without acknowledgement in the mornings, and tell them what time you are more open for dialogue. By approaching them with an explanation of why you are not answering, it shows that you have manners and know how to work with others, even if you need space at certain times (which again, is completely appropriate when handled correctly).

In the end, both sides need to work together on this issue instead of battling each other to bend towards their own specific ways of how they want things done.


Winfred October 13, 2017 at 9:14 pm

23 min 15 sec waisted! Really, acknowledging another person with a hello and a smile is a positive and releases endorphins reducing stress and leaves a positive mood, much better than explaining to them that it is all a waist of something like “productivity” time. It would take more time to explain to everyone why not to say good morning etc. and create a strange dark atmosphere. The dignity and worth of others.


Tom July 17, 2017 at 1:39 pm

I’m a team leader in a hospital setting. I have one individual who is a section leader under me who never initiates a greeting. No “morning” greeting, and no “have a good night”. Other than that he seems normal when he’s of a mind to hold a conversation. For the most part I’ve stopped greeting him during the day, when passing him in the hall, or in the evening. I figure he just doesn’t like greetings for some reason. I really can’t imagine being like him, but that’s just him. Here’s the FUNNY thing. Whenever he’s competing for a raise or a promotion, he’s very amicable with his greetings. Weird, huh? Doesn’t greet, but seems to know that greeting people makes a more favorable impression. Maybe someone here can explain what his train of thought/mindset is like. Why does he behave like he does?


Nicolas June 26, 2017 at 1:59 am


I’m in the service industry, and I’m a guy that gives exceptional service, but most of the time customers are too arrogant and self centered to even give a rat’s ***. You greet with a smile looking into their eyes and nothing, they just start questioning, I would interupt them and I say again” GOOD MORNING” then they would greet back. It’s like children you got to teach how to greet and not be a snoby and rude rich person, never the less. Most of the “RICH” Cleints are the ones that don’t greet, obviously they think they better than everyone else.

Anyways, there’s my two cents.


Jeri rasulo May 29, 2017 at 5:23 pm

Ignoring ppl is an incredibly popular passive – aggresive tactic here in Hawaii!! they think it gives then an upper hand being rude.

when ppl don’t respond I Say “or not I don’t care, I tried, that’s fine”. I’ve had years of that and now it makes me feel better to say a few words.

of course they interprete that as rude lol.


Stacey May 24, 2017 at 5:52 pm

So .. I will avoid eye contact if I am not in the mood for chat (that is courtesy t/fair warning to those who fixing to approach me ) Second.. you say people who dont say good moring are disrepectful.. I say you have no clue if they are going thru personal issues, and you just have to add / spread how rude they are.. I think its worse to make some one respond when they didnt even give you any sign of wanting to communicate .. Sometimes people too caught up on political correctness .. You asking to be ignore and you only have yourself to blame.. You should analysis each person mood or personality before engaging .. We are not all wired the same..


George B June 23, 2017 at 8:29 pm

You have social issues of you can’t be bothered to return a greeting to a fellow human who says good morning, hello or have a great weekend. You are emotionally broken if you get pain from making such a simple and human response. If your clients ignored you or your spouse or children or pets ignore you, how does that make you feel? I cant stand grumpy disconnected people like you.


Tom August 8, 2017 at 10:06 am

You have emotional issues to get anger over lack of greeting. Do you really need constant validation? Can’t go a minute without a greeting? I can’t stand needy egotistical people.


Winfred October 13, 2017 at 9:24 pm

“Political”? How? Acknowledging the other person’s presence is a positive, a courtesy, yet no one is out to “make someone respond” or should make some instantaneous analysis of the other person. It’s just extending recognition or a kind of caring or honor of the other person’s presence. It takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile.


Jillian October 22, 2017 at 10:57 pm

Sorry, but there are many reasons why people don’t speak or say good morning! I work in a current environment where management is always gossiping about people and those same people say good morning just being fake. When I just caught you talking bad about me for no reason now that’s DISRESPECTFUL!!!! Then you try to force me to say good morning because I don’t speak back. When you keep saying good morning when obviously I don’t speak back that just makes people hella mad!!! STOP IT!!!!!!!! I always hear them talking bad about others too… What ashame!! Coworkers just watch what you say and do in general. People analyze that and decide if it is even worth socializing with you. Sometimes people do not want to be tied to such negativity so they don’t say anything at all. At least this is why I don’t speak. I am a great worker, have perfect attendance, and treat my clients well. Sorry you guys are in your feelings, but everything is not about you. And again, there are other factors that may be the reason why WE are not speaking… we do have a life outside of this job!


BEverly March 15, 2017 at 10:38 pm

Been looking for a forum like this for a while. I think its disrespectful that colleagues who work with you for years will just pass and say morning or good morning without mentioning your name. Sometimes you veinly hear a voice after they are a few feet down the hall or they could be talking to someone else. Its disrespectful when you hard at work and colleagues are behaving like that. same colleague will only management by name because they have reason to do so. For me, i dont answer, if i pass them, i will say “good morning john” with eye contact. professionalism is so important, and just by saying that to a person, puts a positive spin on their day.


BEverly March 15, 2017 at 10:36 pm

Been looking for a forum like this for a while. I think its disrespectful that colleagues who work with you for years will just pass and say morning or good morning without mentioning your name. Sometimes you veinly hear a voice after they are a few feet down the hall or they could be talking to someone else. Its disrespectful when you hard at work and colleagues are behaving like that. same colleague will only management by name because they have reason to do so. For me, i dont answer, if i pass them, i will say “good morning john” with eye contact. professionalism is so important, and just by saying that to a person, puts a positive spin on their day. I look forward to others comments


Jill May 31, 2016 at 9:06 pm

Rude colleague,

I’ve greeted my colleague face to face good morning and her response was a smile. There’s no one around us… I think she is pretty rude even if she responded by a smile. JUST RUDE!


Polly November 30, 2016 at 12:05 pm

a smile is adequate, and ur needy, annoying, and need to check your ego. if i were her and read this comment, i would stop smiling. smiling is more than adequate as an acknowledgement, it is warm, it is friendly, it is positive.


Jill March 7, 2017 at 8:39 pm

she did that all the time. In this case… isn’t this rude too?


Jill March 7, 2017 at 8:45 pm

she did that all the time. In this case… isn’t this rude too? Because people is making an effort to greet you every morning.


Dewdrops June 30, 2017 at 7:08 pm

Polly, it is rude to not reply. A smile comes acoss as phony and boorish.


Nia May 12, 2016 at 5:46 pm

okay I feel the need to comment only because I am NOT a morning person I’ve been this way since I was a in school….I’m a bill collector and it’s this one manager that makes goes out of her way to come down every aisle stand behind you with her outside voice good morning …I feel like this is so rude because she doesn’t speak to everyone and i want to be apart of everyone that she doesn’t speak to….So today I was on a call with a customer and she comes down the aisle saying good morning so’ n ‘so…I did not respond because i was on a call around 7am….but she def made it a point to me all before 8am that she KNEW i was on the phone when she said good morning and she sees that I wore my natural thick hair and I didn’t speak back and she just wanted to let me know that…..0.o? I was silent the whole time because the statement itself was rude and stupid…So maybe next time she does that I’ll tell the customer hold on so i can say good morning…??? help me out because when she told me that she was loud standing over me with both hands on the back of my chair..I was praying please don’t touch my hair…please don’t touch me…i felt singled out so to get her away from my I responded…yes I was on a call when you said good morning but good morning…and this happened today 05/12/16 When i’m walking down the aisle she’ll ask what are you looking for really loud when I’m just heading to the restroom 0.o? Am i missing something here…because all today i wanted to let her know I don’t have to subject to your mandatory greetings and please don’t invade my personal space like that…she’s so annoying…and we have cubicles and she’s extremely large person so her stomach and crouch is all in my face…while both of her hands are on the back of my chair…..help me…how should i handle this????????? cuz she’s doing this tomorrow as well and the next day…and the day after that


Bella May 7, 2016 at 1:11 am

Do you have a dog? Do you greet it when you wake up and come home from work? Are people less deserving?


Coop March 29, 2016 at 9:44 pm

I think people who are rude don’t deserve a greeting.


Gina February 20, 2016 at 10:47 am

So for the past 2 1/2 years while working in a law firm, I would enter my boss’s office on a daily basis and say, “Hello or Good Morning” only to be stared at (like a deer in the head lights)and ignored. I guess in my simple mind, I thought that this was the proper thing to do–Smile and greet your boss. I wasn’t really looking for any acknowledgement, but it would have been nice to hear “Hello or Good Morning” as well once in awhile. Not sure what I am doing wrong. It is and has been my belief that my boss does not like me.


vlad July 15, 2016 at 11:24 pm

you havent earned his respect,either that or he doesnt like being bothered.all bosses put themselves above the employees by saying good morning all friendly it shows weakness.to some people so does apologising,they feedl its a form of kissing up.do yourself a favor and stop saying it and work hard at your job.once your respect is earned im sure he will speak to you.if not hes just a rude person.


Alec February 20, 2016 at 8:53 am

There’s a dog daycare I take my 8 month old lab to once or twice a week to socialize with other dogs and get used to some new people and blow off some of the nuclear energy she stores up in the process. She’s hyperactive as hell and constantly yanks herself on her collar/leash because she’s so revved up in the morning (all the time) and it always takes a moment or several to get her to settle back down enough to move from point A to point B as I was taught by my training instructors. Anyway, sometimes it looks a little wild when I’m holding her collar steady and calmly in place and she’s thrashing around excitedly until she finally settles down and I can take the leash off because she’s at last being a good girl.

Anyway, there’s this girl staff member I always see in the morning when I drop off my dog and is the only staff at this daycare in the morning, so has the shop to herself pretty well. She doesn’t say a word to me when I come in and it really feels like she’s judging me harshly for something I’ve done or am doing when I handle my dog in front of her. Like I’ve lost the privilege of being responded to when saying “Good morning!” when I come in bright and early like it’s a crime to abandon my dog in such a way. It’s excruciating for someone like me. I suffer from anxiety and depression and am also an introvert on top of the fact, I know all about what it’s like to need to be quiet sometimes, but even I know to make an effort when someone’s trying to be friendly and normal to me. The last thing I need is to step out of myself just to be met with that kind of passive aggression and an icy cold silence. I mean, if you’re a staff member at a place where you’re the only one on duty and there are no other customers around, why be so deadly silent like it’s an earned privilege to be responded to in the morning that I’ve somehow lost? I used to work retail. I’d have been fired in no time if I acted like that to the customers and that’s real. It’s not acceptable.

My point comes down to the fact that if you’re a staff member at a place that deals with customers throughout the day and you’re the only one around to cater to their needs, being so quiet that you’re totally silent when spoken to and not acknowledging your customer vocally at all except to stare at them like they abuse animals or something just for putting their dog into a “sit” is indeed rude behaviour. I’ll handle a clerk treating me that way at a grocery checkout line like I’m some kind of creep who shouldn’t be spoken to, but not at the place where I take my puppy to help her grow up into a happy and well adjusted dog. I can’t say for certain that she’s actively going out of her way to make me feel small by drinking up my greeting without a response, and you know, everybody’s got problems. But it’s reached a point where I feel so scowled at that I feel I need to bring this to her boss if I’m going to keep bringing my dog to that daycare. At least that woman is a very friendly and courteous older lady instead.


Jodie butler January 16, 2017 at 4:31 am

I’m with you there Alec 100%!


Pam October 16, 2015 at 3:19 am

I am a high school teacher and am friendly by nature. I greet each of my students as they enter my classroom and expect that they return my greeting, which they do. This has happened several times with three different teachers on campus. I said “good morning” and got only a cold stare. One is a new teacher whom I pass several times each day. Now I have stopped acknowledging her after she ignored me several times. The last couple of times, I followed up with “I guess it isn’t (a good morning).” I’m not looking for validation, but I do think it’s rude not to acknowledge a greeting.


Jennifer September 29, 2016 at 11:20 am

Have you considered the possibility that it’s rude of YOU to force people to do what you want them to do? I am one of those people who would rather just say hey or give a faint smile. Who made the law that a good morning is required? Perhaps it’s because I was raised up North, in a larger city. There people think your crazy if you acknowledge every single person. Now that I live in the South people will talk to you even if they walk up to you and you’re back is turned & don’t see them. That’s one of the reasons people think southerners are a kind of simple minded.


Alplily November 18, 2016 at 11:13 am

I expect basic courtesy and civility from my staff. Giving someone the silent treatment is unprofessional and just not acceptable. It does not contribute to a healthy team, and can be damaging to other kinds of communication. If you work with other people, you need to be mindful of basic manners, even if you don’t want to.


Susie December 15, 2016 at 11:36 am

I agree with you 100%. It’s unprofessional and bad-mannered. As you know, you can’t force anyone to reply. I give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they are busy reading deep in thought, or on the phone or watching a Web-ex. There are numerous things that could be going on that one may not be aware of. But if it happens on a consistent basis, it can become damaging, as others in the area will be aware of the response or lack thereof.
A suggestion is the next time you want to talk to that person, say hello/good morning (a simple greeting) and ask how they are, and then introduce the reason to reason you want to talk to them. A face to face greeting could “break the ice”. Either way, never stop being professional and courteous. It’s a gift you do not want to lose.
A greeting is a sign of good will.


Elohor August 8, 2017 at 8:01 am

I love this response. And I have noted it in my book. I don’t want to get sucked in the attitude of others anymore. I used to get bitter when I greet, and the other doesn’t respond. It made me want to keep to myself. And at the end of the day, I’m seen as the bitter person. And I’m like: “But I tried first!!! And she didn’t respond!” But no one cares. So I think the best thing to do is just be good. How a person behaves is the person’s problem. How I respond is what I should watch out for.

J_Mo August 31, 2012 at 11:44 am

Here’s how I feel about it: I am a very moody person and am just not always that friendly; HOWEVER, I always, always acknowledge a greeting. Even if I’m not feeling cheerful, I will at the very minimum nod in response to a “hello” or a “good morning.”

I’m someone who prefers to have some boundaries and who tends to err on the side of not bothering other people, but I won’t be outright rude, and I DO appreciate the spirit in which such greetings are meant.


Rich August 31, 2012 at 9:03 am

Being a non-morning person is not an excuse for poor manners. If getting up in the morning is so horrific, then maybe night work would be more to their liking. Moreover, it seems more and more everyday that someone tries to justify rude inappropriate behavour. Proper ettiquette dictates that when entering a workplace, the employee entering will greet his or her fellow workers first. Period. End of Story. Get used to it!


Barbie M August 31, 2012 at 10:48 am

I so agree! I was just telling someone yesterday about this post and how some tried to justify their bad manners by calling out others who were only doing the proper thing! It’s a matter of courtesy to greet your coworkers. It’s not about “violating” someone’s space or attempting to validate your own existence. Geesh!


Jennifer September 29, 2016 at 11:25 am

It’s also poor manners to force other people to do something they obviously don’t want to do. Why would you want to be greeted by someone who doesn’t want to talk to you anyway, unless you are a raging narcissist?


Alplily November 18, 2016 at 12:30 pm

I expect basic courtesy and civility from my staff. Giving someone the silent treatment is unprofessional and just not acceptable. It does not contribute to a healthy team, and can be damaging to other kinds of communication. If you work with other people, you need to be mindful of basic manners, even if you don’t want to.


Sunshine July 12, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Instead of trying to force a connection onto people who don’t want it (which is beyond rude, it is a violating their personal boundaries), you’d probably be better served to ask yourself why you are validation-seeking.
I love love love the morning, and come in bubbling over and joyful and so excited to be me and to be alive, and my co-workers come up to ME with sunny greetings because they want to get close to the energy of it. The ones that don’t….don’t, and actually I hadn’t even noticed the ones who didn’t until I read this question. We get along and cooperate throughout the work day, which seems like it would be miserable if I were harboring hard feelings and judgments about who said what or didn’t in the morning.
If you honestly want to “connect”, then put yourself in their shoes. Imagine you are a non-morning person, or someone immersed in thought, and someone with poor boundaries and approval-seeking behavior was trying to impose their morning high on you, when you didn’t want any part of it. When you see yourself through *their* eyes, then maybe you can cultivate an actual connection.


Moonshine October 1, 2014 at 12:07 pm

“Poor boundaries and approval-seeking behavior”? That’s a REALLY interesting and convenient inversion of cultural norms, bordering on trollish. Saying hello to someone, especially someone you are bound to see for 40 hours a week, is among the most basic foundations of social etiquette. “Hello” or “Good morning” is the first step to “We will have a functional relationship”. When you answer the phone do you answer with “What is it?” No, like not (or actually maybe you do) because that would be incredibly rude. BTW you should probably never have children, because all of their need for “validation” and “attention-seeking behavior” in the form of needing hugs, food, medicine, etc., is going to really frustrate you.


Jon October 21, 2015 at 4:00 am

I like your comment! But also if I person wishes to act in such a way then we should withhold our greeting from them because they don’t deserve it.


Bevannal December 28, 2015 at 10:51 pm

Ha ha I agree.


Sharon May 25, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Here’s another thought: it can be just as rude to take offense because someone doesn’t answer you politely too. Let it go! Say your hellos and be known for your courtesy but don’t let it bug you if you cannot control their responses. There have been times that I have been SO wrapped up in my own multi-tasking brain that I walked right past people with no acknowledgement – it had NOTHING to do with them. We have this in church sometimes – there are so many people to greet – it’s hard to say hello to every single person if you have things to do or places to get to or your kids are acting out or whatever. I think we should just give each other a break.


Glenda May 25, 2012 at 2:35 pm

I agree, Sharon, and it goes right back to an earlier post by Sam, I think, – are you doing it to acknowledge someone else or to be acknowledged? If I say good morning and don’t get a response, so what, I feel like I did what was right for me. It doesn’t change the way I feel about myself or the way I feel about the person I said good morning to that did not respond for whatever reason. Some people need to focus all of their attention on what they are doing and dislike distractions. I can understand that and do not think they are being rude if they don’t respond.


Sam May 5, 2017 at 5:26 am

Over time, your optimistic attitude will degrade and you’ll begin to resent the other person… if you see them as more than a piece of office furniture. If you respect them enough to give them common courtesy, it’s going to hurt eventually to know that they don’t return that respect. Unless you justify it in your mind by coming up with judgmental thoughts.


Winfred October 13, 2017 at 9:50 pm

Hi Glenda! I think most people are intelligent and can realize at times someone might be wrapped up in thought etc, or eccentric, or in emotional duress, or also know not to rely on the approval of others to validate one’s own self-worth etc. I haven’t timed it but I bet a smile and saying hello takes probably a max of 2 seconds. Yes we are ultimately the one responsible for our own happiness. I think eventually of it as being rude like with one person who has been so for over a year and see him in friendly ways greet others, but think so only in extreme cases. The reason I came here is once in a while I think that if I also begin to not say hello to him then that is actually a kind of respect to him as then I’m not putting him through the unpleasant experience of my saying hello when he doesn’t want me to, or that my saying hello is unpleasant for him. There is a wisdom to doing what is right for oneself yet what if that “wisdom” is to never smile or never say hello, we can never really know when attempting mind reading. Two seconds.


Mark May 25, 2012 at 3:54 pm

I had to chuckle to myself at your comment, “I have been SO wrapped up in my own multi-tasking brain that I walked right past people with no acknowledgement”. When I worked in a retail store, as I was walking down the center main aisle, my own mom was walking straight towards me, and even though I was looking forward, I didn’t even notice her! I was just that wrapped up in concentrating on the task i was about to do. I am often like that; I just have my blinders on and don’t notice what is being said around me, including the morning “good morning” greetings. I know it comes off as rude to others, but I don’t think I’m being rude if I truly don’t realize what they are saying.


Sherry May 25, 2012 at 10:43 am

I find if I say good morning to someone and I “use their first name” then I tend to get a response. If I don’t get a response I continue to say good morning to them “using their name”, every time I see them in the morning and I make sure to smile. Eventually one day they will say good morning. Sometimes it may take a bit of patience.


Fenfen March 15, 2017 at 4:09 am



Zeda May 24, 2012 at 4:32 pm

The impression you make starts with the greeting you give to people. It’s their first opportunity to assess your personality, your demeanor and your manners but if you work in an office this is your place of employment. It does not mattter if your are a morning person or not. Its all about formaliy and some corporations can get you fired if you are rude and always have that “unhappy” personality. Your first impression of you course gets alot of attention and perhaps promotion. If you are always the type to be rude and unapproachable then there goes making allies and determining who would even consider you for any promotion. The morale of this story is proper ettiqutte does not take your whole life’s worth of misery. Just be approachable and acknowlege back and you don’t have to be so negetative about not responding back. Just be greatful that people have a place to go to work. Enjoy your life.


Lisa May 25, 2012 at 9:07 am

Well said Zeda.


Bevannal December 28, 2015 at 10:53 pm

Yes spot on.


Leah M May 24, 2012 at 11:32 am

I agree that it is only common courtesy to at least acknowledge the person who has “greeted” you. And, it doesn’t have to take any time to do so since you can speak while still walking. I have worked with a number of people who have left the office for a meeting and/or the evening who do not let me know. I feel they put me in a difficult situation since I am usually the person that someone else would come to to ask where a co-worker is. If I don’t know where the team member is that has left, it is embarrassing since they didn’t let me know and I am put in a position where I can’t help a “customer.” So, I do believe it is a common courtesy, but I also believe there are some compelling business reasons to acknowledge each others presence. Teams are organic and


Leah M May 24, 2012 at 11:35 am

Teams are organic and if one individual’s actions impact the entire team.


J_Mo July 2, 2012 at 3:36 pm

My team members RARELY tell me where they are going. It’s the worst when someone from the outside–a consultant, a client, a job applicant–comes in!


g May 21, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Now in response to the Good Night or have a Good Weekend (I have to say I don’t agree with this). Only because when it’s time to clock out I want to leave I don’t want to take the extra time to say good night or have a good weekend.
Part of this too is because when I first started we told each other where we were going all the time (we have 3 offices for our department – one of them had 2 people in it). I did it because it’s common courtesy and because we have a lot of land with 4 buildings and multiple floors in each. But I honestly felt like I had to tell my babysitter where I was going and what I was doing.
So I feel sort of the same about saying good night or good weekend (like by the way I’m leaving now, just in case you didn’t realize that’s it’s 4:30 and I leave at 4:30 and I’m a grown adult thanks.) Now if I see my team face to face before I leave I say good bye.
Since I was able to pick up full time I created little signs for each of stating that we went to “such and such building” “or to lunch” that way we don’t have to feel like we have to tell someone. We can just hang it up by our door.


Mark May 21, 2012 at 2:24 pm

There is one kind of situation where we make it mandatory to say “good night”. At night, if someone is leaving but one person is left in the building, the leaving person has to make a point to make the remaining person know they are now alone in the building. 99.999% of the time we know when there are only a couple of us left in the building, so the leaving person saying “Good night” lets the other person know that they are by themselves. That gives them the option of either A) Leaving, too, since some hate being alone in the building, or B) Staying but be more aware of the surroundings and sounds, for security purposes.


Bevanna December 28, 2015 at 11:01 pm

Exactly…besides courtesy other things like well being are the issue!


Gloria May 21, 2012 at 2:33 pm

I’m referring to if someone says this to you or directly to a few people, then gets completely ignored. Etiquette seems to be a lost art nowadays.


bb May 21, 2012 at 1:58 pm

When someone doesn’t respond to “Good morning”, I add a “or not” to my greeting. Yeah, it’s a little confrontational (though I say it in a joking manner). One time, a guy actually stopped in his tracks, turned around and apologized. He said, “I’m so sorry, I’m just usually in my own little world!” I bet that’s true of a lot of people. I don’t let it bother me anymore. I figure they’re either hard of hearing or just far away daydreaming. =)


Mark May 21, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Technically they don’t have to say “good night’, but that’s pretty much what we all do as the way to tell the last person that they are indeed last.


Mark May 21, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Oops. That went under the wrong one, but I can’t figure out how to delete a post, and this reCAPTCHA thing is driving me insane. Sorry.


Gloria May 21, 2012 at 8:31 am

This also brings down the morale of the office. That is the #1 complaint I heard when we had a change in management – not saying hello or acknowledging their hello…or good night…or have a nice weekend. It hits harder when it comes from management.


Melissa May 18, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Maybe try something that more obviously requests a response? Like, “Good morning–how are you?”

I agree–it’s rude not to return the greeting.


Gloria May 18, 2012 at 2:47 pm

I experienced this, as well. My response was to take my greetings to the extreme.

After a couple of months of receiving the no-acknowledgement-to-my-existence when I said, “Morning”, I decided to change my approach, which I figured would irk them just as much as they irked me with their lack of etiquette.

The very next morning, and every morning after that, I would purposely come in with a really big toothy grin…think comical here…and give an exaggerated happy…and really loud…, “GOOD MORNIN!”, while I kept walking to my desk.

At first, I didn’t get anything back.

After a couple of weeks, odd looks.

A month, a smirk.

Two – three months later, a genuine smile and a good morning back!

Every day since then, I would do the same thing and received a sincere greeting back from them. This continued for years until they recently left the firm.

Even if it didn’t work in the begining and they didn’t respond, it still made me laugh inside.


Gloria May 18, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Follow up to my comment:

Kill em with kindness. Grouchy people hate that!


Patty May 22, 2012 at 10:08 am

Touche Gloria – been there, done that! It does work.


g May 18, 2012 at 11:47 am

I’m not a morning person but I force myself to greet people any time of the day because I feel it’s rude if you don’t. I don’t get bent out of shape if they don’t response but I feel if you are a supervisor or director you need to acknowledge everyone (people are looking to you for answers – so greet them back). We have a director at my job who rarely greets others.


Debbie May 18, 2012 at 11:00 am

I worked in an office which was extremely stressful. I would come in each morning with a “good morning” and get the response “what’s so good about it?”. I wanted to say “we are all alive and breathing”, but I said notthing, at some point I simply stopped saying anything. I would walk in, go to my desk and begin my day. I wasn’t expecting a response in fact no response would have been so much better than what I got.. This set the mood for the entire day, needless to say I began looking for a job that appreciated me a lot more and was a lot less stressful. (not to mention much better pay). I’m not necessarily a ‘morning’ person, but I feel that if you start your day positive and uplifted that it can change the way you feel.


Lori May 18, 2012 at 8:43 am

I think at the heart of the issue is just plain old common courtesy. When someone speaks to you, acknowledge them. You don’t have to carry on a conversation and a simple “good morning” takes just a split second. Then, move on. It’s also called respect. When you look someone in the eye and speak to them, and they don’t respond to you, it is disrespectful. It says “I’m much too important to be bothered with the likes of you”. Folks, this world is getting colder and colder and it needs to stop. As an Admin, I say hello or good morning to those I meet throughout my day whether I know them or not. And we do have staff here, some who are supervisory staff, who regularly snub people who greet them no matter what time of day it is. I used to let it go, but now I repeat myself louder until it elicits a response. And not offering a greeting in return is a poor reflection on both your professionalism and your company as a whole. Morning person or not, if you are upright and breathing, you would do well to utter a simple response when someone speaks to you.


Diane May 18, 2012 at 5:29 pm

You said it all with your comment. I just had this happen to me yesterday when I greeted the Chancellor of our University who just looked at me and said nothing.


Dalphina May 31, 2017 at 4:33 am

Hi Diane. That person has a boat load of issues. I refer to people who do that as just plain old “ignorant”. Guess she or he hasn’t been taught any better. Wow!


Patty May 22, 2012 at 10:06 am

Wow, Lori you are right on! I could not have said it better. Have a nice day.


ExecMart May 24, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Wow! Great response Lori. Thank you.


Patty May 18, 2012 at 8:34 am

So many comments. I am also a morning person and there is nothing more cheerful, in my mind, than a sunny disposition. Too bad we aren’t all like that. I had a boss once and, for six years, she did not respond to my good mornings, except with a grunt or nothing. I persisted anyway because that’s my nature. It never changed, but I got used to it.

There was a gentleman in another office who started off without acknowledging my good mornings at all, then after awhile I got a grunt, then a strained good morning back. If I forgot to say it because I didn’t see him in his cubicle, he would come to my desk and ask me what was wrong.

So, it’s up to you whether or not you want to persist with the no-sayers or not, but keep up the cheerfulness. It goes a long way in the office these days.



Kathy J May 18, 2012 at 8:32 am

I was brought up to say “good morning” to people I encounter. I’ve always done that, just as a way of acknowledging them. Several years ago I moved from the North to the South, and I was surprised at how many people here lack basic courtesy skills. I greet people throughout the day when I first encounter them. It doesn’t bother me so much any more when they don’t respond. Some are actually surprised that I greeted them.


Virginia May 18, 2012 at 6:09 pm

Hi, Kathy, I don’t know what part of the “South” you live in, but I was born and raised in Louisiana, and you would NEVER get that response there! We are friendly and open people. In fact, the opposite is true in my life, I moved from the South to the North, and am appalled by the lack of manners and courtesy shown to not just coworkers but fellow humans.


Glenda May 21, 2012 at 2:46 pm

I agree with Virginia, and I thought I must have read it wrong – Southerners lacking basic courtesy skills? – because living in an area of the South that gets a lot of tourist traffic most everyone will agree that Northerner’s tend to be rude or unfriendly. Most Southerners are very hospitable and tend to be known for our “southern charm”. I am sorry that you have encountered the opposite.


KathyJ May 25, 2012 at 8:28 am

It’s good to hear that most areas of the South are not like the one I live in! I’ve come to accept and appreciate a lot of the cultural differences, and I pretty much just let things that used to annoy me roll off my back now.

(Once again, I can’t really read the Captcha words, so if this posts, I’ll be surprised.)


Ana Ng July 30, 2015 at 4:47 am

Choking on my grits here.

Sorry, but southern hospitality is some sort of myth about to be extinct with the rebel flag. I work with a natural born southern girl, Georgian to be exact, and she’s been nothing but rude since day one when I started here. The first thing she EVER said to me was how she didn’t like northerners. I’m sorry, but that is some rude krp to say to a brand new employee. And when there is “southern charm” its disingenuous. I was so ill when I was finally informed as to what “Bless his/her heart” actually means. Phonies, no better than northerners, simply put.

JoAnn Paules May 18, 2012 at 7:19 am

I am one of those folks who is *not* a morning person. When greeting in the morning I generally just nod in the greeter’s direction. It’s nothing personal, it’s just who I am at that time of the day. Catch me a couple of hours later and I’ll be fine but please don’t expect me to be Little Mary Sunshine right off the bat.


Elizabeth May 17, 2012 at 7:30 pm

I think that if someone is saying good morning to other people in order to generate a response, then it’s not really out of courtesy or altruism; it’s to get people to acknowledge him or her.

That said, the reality is that whether we are morning people or not, we have to be at work in the morning; civility is something people should try to practice in general. Sure, it’s rude not to respond to someone if we hear them say hello; on the other hand – that’s life. It is very doubtful that it is a personal slap in the face.

If you want to say hello or good morning, then do so, but don’t get bent out of shape if people don’t respond. If your (I mean this generically, not toward the person who asked the question) self-esteem is hanging on those little things, then you’ve got issues to deal with; I wouldn’t worry about who responds or doesn’t. You need to get yourself a thicker skin – otherwise everything is painful. I know – I used to be like that.


Mark May 17, 2012 at 5:56 pm

I think you and a couple others have the right attitude. Do it, but don’t expect anything in return, so when you DO get something in return, it’s a pleasant surprise. Don’t worry about who does or does not respond. There are countless things in anyone’s life to legitimately worry about. Someone saying “good morning” back to you isn’t one of them.


Mark May 17, 2012 at 5:57 pm

(That was a response to Ava O.)


Vee May 17, 2012 at 5:48 pm

I say good morning when I arrive to everyone and those that don’t respond really don’t impact my life. I grew up with manners and was taught to acknowledge people. I am not a morning person, but hey, you’ve been awake long enough to get to work and get over the fact that you’re there. Most of us have to work and many do not enjoy what they do, but if you dwell on the negative your life will reflect it and guess what…you’re never climbing higher unless you’re really, really special or have really, really speciall skills, e.g., a surgeon. People don’t want to work with or around curmudgeons. As an earlier person commented, the world is much ruder and manners are unfortunately becoming more and more scarce.


Ava O May 17, 2012 at 5:41 pm

I’m actually temping in an engineering firm and those guys are not really morning folks either. I am one of over a dozen temps they’ve had, and, not to brag, but I do consider myself an office professional. I don’t think the previous temps were, so the first day I was there, I got looks like I had 3 heads or something when I greeted everyone with a smile and a cheerful good morning. HA! I’m not insulted when fellow workers don’t say good morning back to me. I have thicker skin than that. I am continuing my quest to say good morning and hoping someday that I’ll get an acknowlement back. But, if I don’t, no sweat. I just continue to be my great professional self – always and with each employee.


TBB May 17, 2012 at 5:39 pm

I agree with Jan. Just continue to say your “good morning” whether they respond or not, move on, and don’t take it personally.


C.E. May 17, 2012 at 5:29 pm

When I was learning to be an Admin I was taught that you always greet people as they come into the office – whether they are visitors, co-workers, VIP’s, and so forth. You should greet people not ignore them – you are an ambassador of your company and your office to whomever walks through the door. You don’t have to get into a half-hour conversation with the person about your bunions, just say, “hello” or “good morning!” People in the world are getting colder and ruder – do we have to let go of this little bit of civility as well? What’s barbaric thing will we do next – start giving the finger to people who walk in the office door?! Why not just lock it and keep them out all together? Really people, we’re not living in Mad Max world yet!


Bar May 17, 2012 at 4:52 pm

I was once warned a supervisor that they were not a happy camper in the morning and not to speak to them until they approached me. I think they came to around 10 a.m.

I was a bit taken back but everyone has a different clock and not everyone is a morning person. I realized that by being cheerful right away in the morning could really bother someone. talk to me around 9 p.m. and my brain has already gone to bed.

As an admin. my goal is to ease my co-workers work load, not necessarily greet them in the morning. Most folks come up to deliver a project and start with a “hi” and that’s all that is needed. I can add a greeting or chat a bit depending on the person. It doesn’t matter as long as I’m friendly and approachable.


Mark May 17, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Two of us here read this. My response (I’m the blunt one) is, why do you care about their response? If you want to say good morning to everyone, that’s great. It is a very polite thing to do. But speaking as someone who is not a morning person, it doesn’t necessarily annoy me when people are cheerful in the morning, but it does annoy me when people expect me to be as cheerful as them. I would say keep doing what you are doing, but don’t worry about who responds and who doesn’t. Don’t they have a right not to respond?

The other person here with me has a suggestion. He says that an alternative to “Good morning”, is to ask a specific question, since a question is usually answered by the other person. Examples, “How are you this morning?” “How was your weekend?” “Did you have a good night?” “Did you watch Dancing With the Stars last night?”, etc. Many people ignore “good morning” greetings. Most people don’t ignore specific questions.


Overjoy May 17, 2012 at 4:33 pm

It really does not matter to me if they do or not, but in cases as you have described here I think the person just needs to stay home. I just don’t believe it is good to bring the personal problems to the office. If they have that much going on how can they stay focused on their work. But as you say in most cases it is not personal.


Overjoy May 17, 2012 at 4:34 pm

This was in response to Martha, not sure what happened.


Overjoy May 17, 2012 at 4:25 pm

I am not a morning person. However, whenever I walked around the office in the morning, specifically to say good morning to everyone, it helped me by bringing me out of that grouchy mood. For those who have to deal with the ones that will not return the good morning what I would suggest is if, you are saying it in passing, take a few seconds to stop and look them in the face and instead of just a Good morning, try “Good morning, How are you today?” Don’t linger!!! Leave saying, “Have a great day!”


Jan May 17, 2012 at 4:22 pm

I already know the people that may or may not speak back, but I still say “Good Morning” with that in mind. I also keep in mind I don’t say “Hello” to get a “Hello” back.

Whoever responds fine, and whoever does not, that’s fine too! I just know I have done my part to “show myself friendly”!


Anonymous May 17, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Depending on how big/small your office is, you could probably keep track in your head of who will respond and who won’t. That’s my guide for who to greet in the mornings. Some people just aren’t up for it. I know people who get upset just because you said a word to them too early in the day. Don’t let it get you down. People are different and you just have to accept that…..or move to France! I’ve heard that there it is customary to go around the entire office and tell each person “bonjour” by name. It’s rude if you don’t.


Overjoy May 17, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Oh I did not know that….I learned something today!! And I do that except I don’t say bonjour!!! A co-worker that knows a little german taught me how to say it in german and it would get my co-workers to laughing in the morning when I would come around trying to say it with a german accent. There is also another co-worker name George when I go by his desk I will say it differently Good murnin’ Gerge almost like Jorge….and he just laughs!!! Maybe adding a little humor might help but it could also backfire!!


Deborah Creps May 17, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Don’t take it personally if someone does not respond to your greeting of “good morning.” It may not be a good morning for them…it may be horrible and they are just barely getting by…just on the verge of tears. Also, some people just aren’t morning people.

If someone doesn’t respond that may be a clue that they need some extra attention, maybe a listening ear. Give them room and seek an opportunity to do something nice for them. Buy them a coffee, offer to help with their workload, give them a nice note about something they have done for you….just find something to brighten their day and in that way it will bring you joy.


Martha May 17, 2012 at 4:21 pm

I agree with the other posters and don’t let it bother you. Maybe they had a tragedy in their family or a family member/friend is in the hospital – or maybe they are just not having a good morning.

Just because someone doesn’t return the acknowledgment doesn’t mean it’s a personal snub.


Lisa S May 22, 2012 at 7:16 pm

I agree – you never know what’s going on in many co-workers’ lives. They may be having a truly bad day (relative in the hospital or other personal problem). They might not be a socially outgoing person. Whatever the reason, I wouldn’t take it personally if they don’t reply.

Also, remember that no one is obligated to be cheerful all of the time! I remember a former co-worker that used to go around telling people to smile all of the time. I found THAT kind of rude!


J_Mo July 2, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Ugh! I HATE that!


Lisa May 17, 2012 at 4:16 pm

I have had that same thing happen to me. I say good morning anyway because that’s who I am. Every now and then I will even get a response out of the ones who don’t usually respond. Sometimes their minds are alreay on the day and sometimes some just choose to be rude, don’t let it stop you from being gracious.


Deb October 7, 2017 at 7:03 pm

Hi Lisa, I work in a small office with a much younger girl and the office manager who happens to be my daughter. Every morning i greet the young girl with a very cheery good morning and just get a grunt back. What makes me irritated is she will usually greet anyone else who comes in the office with a good morning first. I just dont get it


Kelly O May 17, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Understand that some people may not hear you, or may be absorbed in whatever task is at hand. They’re not ignoring you to be rude, they’re just preoccupied.

One important thing to remember is not everyone needs to conform to your ideal behavior. You may be a bubbly morning person who greets everyone; your coworker may be a night owl looking for her next cup of coffee to reach a full level of consciousness.

Personally, my advice is just let it go. If you feel you have to speak, then speak. Remember, how people treat you is their karma, how you react is yours – that’s one of my favorite quotes from Dr. Wayne Dyer.


Sam Adams May 17, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Guess the real question is why say Good morning? Is it to acknowledge the person you are saying hello to or to be acknowledged? People have their reasons for not responding and it there could be dozens of them. Catch up with them later and say “hi, how are you doing?”, give them a compliment about something they are wearing and you may see them perk up next time. But if you continue to hear crickets, continue to be gracious anyway…..why not?…..in the final analysis it’s not how well you are treated but how well you treat others….


Mary February 6, 2015 at 6:15 pm


7 Reasons to Say Good Morning to Your Co-Workers

Joe and Stacey work next to each other. They sit no more than five feet apart. Even though they often arrive at work before the rest of the team, there’s no communication between them.

Only silence.

No morning greeting. No acknowledgment that they are sharing the same office oxygen.

Career advice experts agree that saying ‘good morning’ should not be difficult. Yet, there’s an increasing trend, almost a rebellion, against saying these two simple words to our co-workers. It’s not like we’re required to salute, bow, kneel or curtsey. Even a casual nod and mumble would be a lot better than the nothing that’s now occurring at far too many work sites.

Don’t become part of this alarming trend. Experience the power of ‘good morning.’

1) It maintains the standards of basic civility that we’re all entitled to at work. Like ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, these two little words also go a long way towards improving communication and the overall atmosphere.

2) ’Good morning’ humanizes our co-workers. We’re real people, not just cogs in a pointlessly spinning wheel. Show some humanity.

3) Provides for a more democratic environment, where everyone from the CEO to the mail clerk get to share in a friendly two-second exchange.

4) It’s quick (and relatively painless). If it is painful, you should probably be looking for a new job or scheduling time for some serious self-reflection.

5) It’s free.

6) Acknowledging the mere presence of someone is interpersonal communications 101. Don’t YOU want to be noticed? You might tell yourself otherwise, but at the end of the day, we all want to be recognized.

7) Saying ‘good morning’ makes things less awkward when you inevitably have to address your co-worker later in the day. Start the day off on the right foot and avoid potential stressors later in the day.
According to Psychology Today, early risers are more agreeable than those who prefer the P.M. hours. Morning people also have more stable personalities and lower levels of aggression, supporting the idea that serotonin is involved in keeping both moods and circadian rhythms regular. Gives new meaning to “you snooze, you lose.”

So if someone is avoiding saying hello in the A.M., you just got a sneak peek into their psychological world.

The start of each new day has a mystique about it. Think about it – most religions have morning services, a sunrise continues to serve as a generic symbol of hope, and a good cup of morning coffee is still (and rightly so) worshipped. Whether we like it or not, we all partake in some semblance of this daily routine, no matter who we are, what we do or where we work. Making the words ‘good morning’ part of that routine is part of the process to Make Work Better. If we can’t make even the most measly effort with our co-workers, it says a lot more about you than you might care to admit.



Natalie March 4, 2017 at 8:12 pm

I encountered a co-worker while arriving at work who after 2 attempts to greet her with a “good morning” said nothing. In fact, all she did was unlock the door, hold it open so I could go in and didn’t even respond to my thank you. Frankly, this is plain ignorant and rude and I will make it known to her that she’s rude if she should do this again in my presence. I’m too old to put up with nonsense in the workplace and if someone prefers to be rude and ignorant or display signs that perhaps they don’t like, I WILL make it know that I find him or her rude, I will let others know as well. I have zero tolerance for ignorant people when it should be commonplace that you acknowledge someone who greets you. Similarly, there is a co-worker who, on arrival every morning, NEVER says good morning. I am left to acknowledge her first. She too is rude and frankly I don’t bother with her much because I find her rude, moody and constantly monopolizing conversations I have with others even though I don’t enlist her opinion. I think she suffers from Oppositional Conversational Syndrome (ie. a person who shoots down or trumps everything you say with her opinion even though you didn’t ask for her opinion). Just horrible!


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