The Profound Meaning of Superficialities

Have a nice day.

By participating in the banalities of everyday social exchanges we signal our willingness to accept and embrace the good intentions of those around us. Commenting on the weather, asking “how’s it going?” whether or not we are looking for a detailed response, even “have a nice day” upon parting are all part of a larger system of social flows. Ironically, they are superficial only on the surface. Looking closer, they perform an essential task in signaling to those around us our willingness to participate, our commitment to maintaining connections, our willingness to open ourselves for deeper engagements should the need arise. In short, these seemingly trivial exchanges can perform a profound function of reinforcing (or dissolving in their absence) the social networks in which our lives are held. Even a brief moment of sincere engagement is capable strengthening the kind of connections that support us at times and in ways that we most need as individuals.

Refusal to participate in these light social exchanges on the grounds that they are mere superficialities, doesn’t just leave a hole in the social fabric, it can do harm to the linkages and connections upon which we and those around us depend.


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