When it comes to greetings, “good morning” is among the worst. To understand why, you’d have to do as I often do: analyze things more than necessary.
For one thing, it doesn’t wish well to the recipient. It hardly even acknowledges their existence outside of the very fact that the statement was directed towards them. What it does acknowledge is the time of day, and the speaker’s opinion of it.
What makes it potentially insensitive is that “good morning” doesn’t even consider the opinion of the hearer. How would you know that that person’s morning was good? What if it wasn’t? What if that person had to rush their daughter to the emergency room in the middle of the night, and after a couple suspenseful hours, discovered that she had cancer? Is it a very “good morning” for him?
Sometimes, mornings suck. Not every morning is great for everyone. I know what someone might say in response: “But I wanted them to feel appreciated, like someone is happy to see them. Is it wrong to make someone know that someone really cares about them?” If that’s what you mean to say, then say that. The main deterrent to doing so would be that it would take more words than a banal acknowledgement of the time of day. Sometimes, something that’s worth doing takes effort. Do you actually care?
Stop abusing communication with ritualistic blurbs. If you have an intent, learn to properly express it.
Sometimes, you’ll see someone at work that makes a point of saying “good morning” to whoever they deign to. There’s someone like that where I work, and he said “good morning” to me. Out of legitimate concern? No, to fish for reciprocation, because when he didn’t hear me say “good morning” right back, he started mumbling something while trudging off. To give you an idea of the kind of self-centeredness that would take, there have been god-emperors that have not felt entitled to an obligatory salutation.
By the way, when someone says “good morning” to me, I usually say “good morning” right back. Sometimes, when you respond in kind, that’s just what it takes for someone else to realize how silly they sound, and they know to feel embarrassed.
I know I sound like I’m making a big deal out of something that really isn’t one, but there was something that happened recently that got my gears grinding. One time, when it was early in the morning, I was approaching a gas station to use their restroom. As I did so, someone sitting outside spoke a loud “GOOD MORNING” at me. I suspected that she worked for the gas station, so I didn’t pay it much mind. After entering, the man behind the counter also directed a loud “GOOD MORNING” at me.
At that point, I suspected that it was made a company policy to direct insincere greetings at random strangers, and for a moment, I pondered just how glad I was that my job didn’t have me work with the general public.
But then, I tried opening the restroom door, but it was locked. There was a sign on the door saying that it was locked early in the morning for some reason.
What gives? They wish me a “good morning” with all the false enthusiasm that they can fake, but they don’t care enough about my health and well being to leave the restroom open for me? If you won’t extend to me the courtesy of using your facilities to relieve a sore bladder, then why should I care what your opinion of the morning is?
At that point, I actually considered going out back to take a leak there, but that idea was quickly decided against when I discovered a police car stationed in a nearby vacant lot, in line of sight of the back of the gas station. So, they keep the restroom locked, and an officer is ready to swoop down on anyone who would go out back? Seems like entrapment to me.
I really don’t know why so many people like telling me that the morning is to their liking. But they are welcome to their opinions, even if an opinion that is overly general and not even grammatically proper. The correct way to express the opinion would be “It is a good morning.” Upon saying this, the listener would be put in a position to ponder just what informs the speakers opinion as to what makes a morning good. Perhaps they think it’s a good morning because they don’t like rain, and it’s not raining. But, agriculturally speaking, rain is necessary and therefore good to have. A farmer might have preferred to have more rain, so their land would be more profitable. Not everyone has the same opinion.
One could say the same thing about “good afternoon” and “good evening”. It’s the same half-hearted ritualistic greeting, just different times of day. For some reason, mornings are easier to pick on. I suspect that that’s because there’s a caffeine deficit to tend to.
Just for kicks, here is a list of things that can make my morning better:
- Having my coffee, eggs, and toast prepared. Especially coffee.
- My second mug of coffee.
- Video games.
- More coffee.
- Another cup of coffee.
- Catching something rare in Pokemon Go.
- Another cup of coffee at around noon.
These would improve my view of a particular morning. Not that I’d feel obligated to share an unsolicited opinion of it. I certainly wouldn’t expect random people walking down the street to care what that opinion would be.