Manners are what let us interact with other people in social situations. If we want to have good relationships with others, then we need to know how to talk to them and how to treat them in order to make a good impression. One of the first things you should learn when it comes to manners is how to greet other people and carry on a conversation with them.
Greeting Guests at Home
Though it may seem complex, learning to greet guests and be a good host is a relatively simple matter of treating others with respect and consideration. You can begin by observing your parents when they have guests at the house. If you follow their lead, you probably cannot go wrong. When you greet a guest, smile and look them in the eye. You can offer to shake hands or hug them as well. Your choice depends on what is most appropriate for their age and relationship to you.
For example, your grandfather is someone you might welcome with a hug, while a friend of your mother's might be better off with a handshake. Either way, you should always stand to greet a guest. Once you have completed your greeting, make an attempt to engage your guest. Invite other children to join you in playing a game or continuing an activity. If your guest is an adult, then make an effort to engage them in conversation. Ask them how they are doing or what they have been up to that day.
Your questions will help you demonstrate a polite interest in what they have to say and, if they are willing to chat, will get the conversational ball rolling. If they do not want to talk, then offer to take their outdoor clothing and put it away properly. You can also help them with any bags or packages they might be carrying.
Finally, do your best to help your parents entertain your guests in a respectful and appropriate manner. This might mean leaving the grown ups to talk, it might mean listening quietly, or it might mean taking an active role in the conversation.
Basic Greetings: Hello, Hello and Goodbye, Goodbye
Greeting people you meet on the street or while you are out and about is different than greeting a guest to your home, but the same principles of respect apply. When you meet someone who says hello, or otherwise greets you, make sure that you return the greeting. They have reached out to you and it is your job to let them know that you have heard and appreciated their greeting. Say hello back and go one step further by inquiring after their day or their health.
This shows that you are interested in their well-being. They may return a quick answer and move on or they may stop for a longer chat. Either way, remember to use the proper forms of a address. Adults should be Mr. or Mrs. or Ms. unless they inform you otherwise. Children may be referred to by their first names.
You don't necessarily need to greet strangers you pass by on the street. In fact, it is generally better to avoid engaging with strangers. You never know what sort of intentions they may have. If someone on the street says hello to you, it's okay and polite to respond with a hello back. Don't feel obligated to interact beyond this point, however. This is not someone you know, so you do not owe them anything beyond basic decency.
Always trust your gut when engaging with strangers. If someone makes you feel uncomfortable, do your best to remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible. Don't respond to them if they try to talk to you. If you begin to feel unsafe, find a trusted adult as soon as possible. If one isn't nearby, you can go into the nearest store and tell an employee you feel unsafe.