If you feel uncomfortable avoiding superficial greetings with people you barely know, here are some substantive things you can say that aren’t shallow or insincere.
· Hello, I’ve only seen you in meetings, but I’m impressed you never leave the men’s room without washing your hands.
· Hi, I noticed you’re getting off on the fourth floor. Some of my best therapy sessions were in suite 4D.
· I don’t think we’ve been introduced, but your mail was delivered to my apartment. It didn’t look important so I threw it away.
· Nice party. Could you create a distraction while I exit without anyone noticing?
· Good morning. I see you’re carrying a cup of delicious Starbucks coffee. Be careful, I once tripped while holding a cup and wrestling a mugger.
· Hi, I know what you’re thinking but I really am trying to smile.
· I’m just visiting your friendly state so I guess I have to make eye contact and say hello.
· You might be a thief, but since you smiled and said “hi,” I feel obligated to buzz you into the building.
· Have a good evening and by the way, I never got a chance to thank you for holding the door open for me in 2012.
Ben Alper writes for late night talk show hosts, comedians and things. He is the author of “Thank You for Not Talking: A Laughable Look at Introverts.”