And one more with a graphical aid.
Am I strange in thinking that if someone asks you how you are doing, the least you can do is give them an honest answer back? Or in thinking that if you ask someone else how they are doing, you anticipate a genuine answer and listen to it with genuine interest? Or have we become so cold and unfeeling that we ask and respond simply out of habit with no expectation that personal lives might actually interact?
People often seem surprised to get a real answer out of me when they ask me how I’m doing. It doesn’t mean I’m going to lay out the book of my life in their laps, but I do feel like the standard, “I’m fine” is a bit too rote and mundane. When I ask how someone is doing, I expect a genuine answer, so I tend to give genuine answers to people who ask the question of me. And it becomes pretty clear pretty quick whether or not they actually meant the question. For those who actually care enough to listen, this can be the start of a good discussion. For those who don’t, well, they get the brush-off in relatively short order.
It’s a strange culture we live in when we can ask how someone is doing and expect a lie – and be ok with that. Seems to me that something needs to change.