How are you?
Three little words. A set of words, formed into an innocent question, the answer to which no one really cares to hear.
Is the answer “Fine” or something else?
“Busy.” “Tired.” “Crazed.” “Stressed.” “About to crack over things no one outside my familial walls would understand or even care.”
Has anyone ever answered something positive?
How are you?
We ask the question as a cultural courtesy. We need something to say, you see. Can’t just say, “Hi! So good to see you!” Or “I was thinking about you the other day.” Or “I’m so glad you’re here.”
Could we come up with a different question for those we haven’t seen in awhile, or for acquaintances we barely know?
Maybe “Hey there! What have you done lately that you’re proud of?” or “Dude! What’s the best thing in your life right now?” or “Hi! How are your bunions?”
Those questions, while a little more probing and honest, are a hell of a lot more likely to get a real answer than the typical “How are you?” That merely puts the weight of how honest an answer do they want on the person about to answer.
Because I’m not fine, I am busy/tired/crazed/stressed/about to crack over things no one outside my familial walls would understand or even care.
But dude, my bunions have never been better.