All talk is a shove in some direction. Just as a ball has weight and spin, so do words. The point of communication is to influence. All words sow seeds of sway.
Offered with a cheerful tone in a parking lot, it’s an assertion that claims:
“Greetings! I am harmless. I acknowledge your presence and I’m opening a channel for a friendly interaction.”
It’s low stakes, but it’s not neutral. It’s asking something of the person who hears it, namely, “trust me.” A simple lob of the ball.
“Hello” feels like a knuckleball when it’s growled past midnight in that same parking lot by a person in a ski mask.
Words are empty vessels. Behind every word is some worldly (or other-worldly) idea pushing its way into your brain. Some intention. Some meaning.
Let shrink our baseball ten-thousand times for another view. From the microscope, communication isn’t catch, it’s chemistry. You’re dropping a spoonful in someone else’s tea, and yours is fair game too. Sip before you swig and you’ll be OK.
Everything means something, even if you don’t know what it is. We speak and listen to understand the weight of the ball, not for the ball itself.