Last time, I wrote about our cycling tour in Ireland, and how a guy with a guitar and a cute dog helped me adapt to the metric system that’s used there. I’ll get to that whole “bicycle” and “tour” thing later, but right now I want to share an Irish custom that I embraced immediately–no math required!
The first day in Ireland, we got to the city of Cork and checked into our hotel. Because of indoor-dining restrictions, we couldn’t wander the streets and pick a local joint for dinner, unless we wanted to visit one of the food carts in the alley and eat outside. Let’s spoil ourselves a little, we decided, and made reservations for the hotel dining room.
After we were duly seated, the young man assigned to our table came along and greeted us with, “Welcome! And how are yourselves this evening?”
Hmm… “yourselves,” not “you” or “you guys.” What a charming turn of phrase!
I kind of wanted to adopt him.
Later, when another diner was leaving, did this same waiter send him off with a polite-but-boring “Have a nice evening?” No, he did not. He said, “Look after yourself, now!”
Why was I so captivated by being addressed as “yourself” instead of “you?” Here in the States, we most often use “yourself” or “myself” reflexively–that is, when the person both does the action, and is affected by the action. Example: “I cut myself while I was chopping vegetables.”
(I can neither confirm nor deny that I drew this example from real life.)
The phrase sounds different and therefore refreshing, but there’s more to it than that. There’s something about the word “yourself” that seems more caring, more individual. For me, the waiter’s greeting conveyed that he saw a whole person, not just some customer sitting at the table.
As near as I can figure, I found the expression meaningful because it seemed to incorporate the soul.
Yes, I’m overthinking. No, I’m sure Irish people don’t go around analyzing greetings for a soul connection. Yes, their expressions are likely as commonplace to them as our American ones are to me.
Still… what if I gave a little thought to speaking to people in a meaningful way? Don’t we have enough meaningless words floating around? Why not actually communicate?
So I’m going to “piggyback” off this charming custom, and try speaking to people in a way that lets them know I see and value them.
Without, you know, going all “Jane Eyre” or anything.
What about you? Do you hear yourself using worn-out “formula” greetings? Or replying “fine” … when you’re not? Ever want to shake things up with a real conversation?
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