A ‘hi’ I detest!

I find it annoying, when WhatsApp users send messages that do not ‘reach me’! By messages not reaching me, I do not mean a technical fault, no.

What I mean is that some send messages that raise defensive queries from me, than heart-warming responses.

For instance, in our technologically driven world, a person changes his or her phone at least once every two years.

Coupled with that, for some who are still getting a hung of updates and synching information across devices, it is a challenge getting all one’s contacts intact, from the time they started using a mobile phone to date.

So, when those who have a knack of having all their contacts from the first use of a mobile phone to date, in a state of boredom go through their contacts and see the number of someone they spontaneously want to link up with because they have not seen or spoken to in a long while, they must communicate properly.

Sending me a “hi” in these days of “419”, sakawa or plain fraud immediately puts me on the defensive.

A “hi” tells me that the person at the other end is trying to do something dubious, particularly when the person’s ID does not reflect on my phone.

A “hi” tells me that the person at the other end is not serious, is casual, and the message, not important.

Most often, when I see a “hi” on WhatsApp, from a number I am unfamiliar with, I ignore it.

Then, there is the “Hi, how are you?”

The first reaction is to query, particularly, when I have no indication about the number and who it belongs to, “who is asking?”


I remember that while growing up, one of my two best and first teachers, my father, (with the other being my mother) taught me how to respond, when I picked up the telephone when it rang or when I made a call to someone.

‘Hello, My name is Caroline, may I please speak to Mr A of Nima?”

In this case, I was initiating the call, and it was my duty to introduce myself first then make my request.

If someone else was calling me and I picked up the telephone, I was taught to say, “Hello, this is Caroline, may I help you?”

In all these situations, the first and basic thing was to introduce one’s self.

That set a good context for the person at the other end to know who he or she was engaging with, in other words, to put a name to a voice, for better communication.

Then there are those with the habit of sending unsolicited WhatsApp posts, being links to other websites, news stories and other pieces of information on varied subjects. Sometimes, it may be in the area of operation of sender or about his or her business or something in relation to that.

Such pieces of information are sent just like that, with no indication about what the sender wants them to be used for.

Particularly, Public Relations Officers assume that journalists must read all such information sent to them and decipher what needs to be published.

In times past, PROs would cull the specific information they want published in a brief and send that with all other relevant materials to a journalist or media house.


The fact that we now have mobile phones does not mean these basic rules of communication with mobile phones are thrown overboard.

A cursory review of etiquette in the use of phones online shows that introducing one’s self is important.

Also important is clarity, to be clear about what is needed to be done.

Indeed, we all must learn that if we have not engaged with someone for more than a year, we should not assume that we are still on the contact list of that person, and just send, a “hi” or a ‘hi, how are you?”

That is a no, no!

We must never assume with our conversations online, but stick to the basic courtesies and ensure we are communicating with meaning.

Writer’s email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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