Why I Greet People With a Salute

(And why you could too)

A lot of my friends know I do this. Whenever I meet them, whether it’s when we see each other during the first lecture of the day at college, or when we catch up with each other in the canteen, or when they open the door to me when I go to their house to hang out, I greet them not with a handshake, not with a nonchalant, “Hey, man,” or an embrace, but with a salute. Of course, I do partake in handshakes and nonchalant versions of, “Hi,” and hugs (hugs are the best, especially if it’s with a dog), but more often than not, it’s a salute. Here’s why.


  1. Formal and Informal at the Same Time

What do I usually want a friendly greeting to be like? I want it to not be awkward, obviously, but at the same time be a little different, and personal. Something kinda fun and funny, but still within acceptable boundaries of weirdness.

A salute is perfect.

I can do it with a straight face, and if the other person returns it that way, we’re on the same page. If he/she cracks up, then that’s good, because I just broke the ice. If he/she just returns a weird look, and kinda salutes me back awkwardly, I still broke the ice but I know I’ll probably have to change the way I salute.

That, or they just find me weird, in which case, the salute still served a purpose: of letting them know how I am.


2. Respectful and Patronising at the Same Time

When you greet a friend, you probably say something funny about them, a little banter, to get a conversation going. It almost feels like you’re starting where you left off last time you met.

That’s what a salute does for me.

A salute in itself is respectful. Soldiers do it. So when I greet somebody with a salute, I do it for a few reasons, but one of those reasons is that I genuinely respect them. At the same time, I also want to patronise the close friends I have when I salute them. It’s what guys do sometimes. None of us takes it very seriously. The salute here is the equivalent of a honourable handshake before the fight begins and everybody is flinging metaphorical mud at everybody else.

Of course, there’s hardly any metaphorical mud-slinging with 90% of my friends, but the true weight of the salute is realised only with the other 10%.

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