It’s February 1st today, and I think we should review our standard nationwide protocols when it comes to saying, “Happy New Year.”
As a general rule, you’re pretty safe just shotgunning “Happy New Year” out into the world until the 10th of January or so. With friends and family, you’ve got a much more relaxed timeline, depending on the first time you see or talk to them after New Year’s Eve. A close family member or a really good friend can comfortably receive a HNY well into January.
With work, you’ll want to keep the 10th in mind as a good guideline. Even before the 10th, however, you’ll need to exercise caution in the workplace.
It can be a major business faux pas to wish the same colleague a HNY more than once in the office. Similarly, wishing a client or vendor a HNY for a second time over the phone can lead to awkwardness. You’ll either want to keep a list of all the people you’ve wished a HNY to, or have an earlier cut-off date.
I would suggest the earlier cut-off date, since someone else finding your list can lead to more awkwardness during your embarrassing explanation, or a trip to HR if you refuse to give a plausible one. It makes people nervous when Bob in accounting has an unexplained list of officemates with some of the names crossed off.
Wishing a HNY to the clerk at the grocery store, the person behind the counter at the coffee place, or your server at a restaurant needs to end right around the 4th or so. You might still be in the holiday mood and want to be friendly and wish them a HNY, but they’ve had the HNY exchange six thousand times by then and they’re just done with it, so have a heart and let them off the hook.
If you’re a friendly sort, and like to wish random passersby on the street a HNY, stick with the 10th as your guideline. Anything past that and it’s getting weird. If you want to say HNY at the end of January, it better be to your immediate family members, and even then they’re going to think you’re being weird.
And for the love of Pete, under no circumstances should a HNY come out of your mouth or land in a text or email after January has ended. This is the official, 100%, no wiggle room, cease and desist, cut-off day.
It’s February now. No one wants to hear it. It’s cold, some of us have started our taxes, and pretty soon we all have to figure out what to do about Valentine’s Day.
Copyright © 2023 Marc Schmatjen
Your new favorite book is from SmidgeBooks
Your new favorite humor columnist is on Facebook Just a Smidge