hi. hello. hey. howdy. All common greetings (except maybe the last one) when we walk into our workplace, or through a store and see someone we know. These are all just statements with a simple response.
Everyday when I call roll, I have a student that asks, “How’s it going?” and this question has me thinking. My instinct is to say, “Well,” and move on. But then there is a part of me that just wants to spill my soul to him because I don’t want to lie or be fake.
Just last week I had a former colleague text me and ask a similar question. My response… I would rather not be a “Debbie Downer.” Thanks for asking and thinking of me. Once again, I don’t want to lie, but I also don’t want to live a life that is not true.
A family member sees me in a local restaurant and asks me, “How are you?” My response… I am surviving and hopeful. And yet again, I am left giving a vague answer.
All of these AMAZING people who are in my life ask this question with the best intentions… but this question… requires a proper place, time, and relationship.
How are you? has become a standard greeting in America. We have grouped it with the Hi’s and Hello’s. Should it be?
To me… when someone asks “How are you?” it should be personal; they should really want to know; they should expect a response whether good or not so good. They asked. They initiated. But that is not how many view this question anymore. It has become a habitual greeting.
Let’s take a look at the social media world… where many do not even bother asking how we are because they assume the answer to that question based on our posts. Is this okay? Not really, but call me guilty. This is the world we live in… the picturesque… the standard.
Listen for it; whether it is coming from you or at you.
- Question: If I am asking this question…
- Is this a proper place for the question to be asked?
- Is there time for the recipient to answer the question?
- Am I close enough to the recipient to initiate the conversation?
- Question: If I am being asked the question…
- What should my response be?
- What would I feel comfortable saying?
- Is what I am saying a facade?
The other day in class, I caught myself asking a student this exact question. At that moment, I was gearing up to explain our next unit. I felt horrible. I had initiated a conversation, but wasn’t able to give the effort that it needed at that moment. How often do you find yourself in this situation?