You say goodbye and I say hello
I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello
More milonga observations . . . "You say goodbye, I say hello... "
When I first started going to milongas, I would enter as quietly as possibly, skirt the edge of the room and sit at the back. If someone waved or said "hi", I'd manage a little wave back. I wanted to avoid drawing attention to myself at all costs. That, and it's a bit of habit. In my family, we tend to arrive at and leave gatherings quietly - not wanting to interrupt anyone. Of course milongas are filled with strangers (at least in the beginning when I first started going), not family and friends, so there's an added stress. Not sure of the customs and habits of other dancers, I kept to myself initially. Then I met La Milonguera. Or rather she came over to meet me. La Milonguera seeks out new faces and makes them feel welcome. She greets them, asks where they're from, and introduces them around if there's opportunity. Once La Milonguera welcomed me, I felt instantly more relaxed - and that feeling stayed with me. Just taking time to greet people makes them (and me) feel more comfortable.
Now that I know more people, I can start recognizing the people who are new, or at least new to a particular milonga, and if I see them sitting by themselves or looking for a friendly face, I go over and welcome them. If I can, I introduce them around. And when I enter a milonga, I look for people I know and greet them almost as soon as I arrive (if they're not already dancing or immersed in conversation). I still can't make myself interrupt anyone.
However, come the end of the evening, I still usually try to slip out quietly. I have a tendency to not say goodbye and I'm not especially surprised to look up and see that someone else has slipped away and gone home. In particular, if I'm leaving because I'm hurting, I tend not to tell anyone - which is the exact time that I should be letting someone know what's up. I'm working on that. It also goes back to the not wanting to draw attention, I suppose - and the way I was brought up to not interrupt anyone. But not everyone was brought up that way. For lots of people goodbyes, I've recently learned, are very important - sometimes even more important than saying hello. So not saying goodbye can hurt feelings. I truly had no idea. The answer? Take time to do both if possible.
So in your family and your gatherings, are hellos and initial greetings more important - or goodbyes at the end of the night? Both?