How Are You?

Have you ever considered this phrase? Or maybe you say "What's up? or How's it going? What's going on? Any one will do. Here's the question I have today. When you ask this question, do you really care?

I once asked a friend how he was. His reply: "Do you care, or are you just asking to be polite?"

It was a fair question at the time, we weren't really close friends, didn't see each other very often, just passing by from time to time. In such an instance this question could reasonably evoke such a response.

How do you answer this question when you're asked? Do you ever catch yourself answering the wrong question? Someone asks you "what's going on," and you respond "fine." Or they say "how are you?" and you respond "nothing."

This has been rattling around in my head for awhile. I've posted before about being a better listener. I think really hearing folks when they respond or ask this question is a great first step.

What do you think?


knittingbrow said...

I think that friend asked a really great question. Kudos to you for considering the question.

I usually mean it when I ask "How are you?" I can tell a difference when someone is genuinely interested. I like to feel that connection between people.

And it doesn't really take that long to be genuine.

Cat said...

When I ask the question, I value a real, genuine, honest answer. Sometimes people just ask it as part of saying hello, but that has never been my intent. I have one staff person who always answers "if I'm above ground, I'm good", which is funny the first time, but not really honestly sharing. You know?

Jim Brochowski said...

I hear you Cat. I know someone who answers, "Better than I deserve," which I thought was just the best answer ever until I tried it myself. Somebody asked how I was, when I said: "Better than I deserve," they said: "Really? Why?" This felt very awkward, and I started to reconsider whether I thought the reply was the best. Clever perhaps. Funny the first time, but no, not the best.

My real pet peeve answer is "I'm blessed." Really? Aren't we all blessed? At least tell me why right?