yes, precisely. We have two different forms of addressing people:
[doo] is reserved to very close acquaintances (usually after several years), friends and family. Sie
[see] is for everyone else. It's just like the English you
Btw, the capital letter in Sie
is no typo. It's a form of respect, like the capital L in the Lord's prayer. And it makes it easier to distinguish between Sie
(thou and she).
While a hello would be completely acceptable with people you address informally (i.e. with du),
it is inappropriate with people you address formally (with Sie)
. For them you'd give the time of day: guten Morgen, guten Abend
(good morning, good evening) or a general guten Tag
(good day). In Bavaria we say grüß Gott
, short for God bless you.
Basically, for a German to be greeted with "hello", would be like an American or Briton being greeted with "hi there!"