Effective Communication Skill Blog

Voice bubblesAfter my "What is your favorite Girl Scout cookie?" post, a couple of readers mentioned that they have little patience with people who ask, "How are you?" when the asker clearly doesn't care.

I generally don't enjoy questions when I know the asker doesn't care about the answer, but I have made peace with the "How are you?" question. I figure most people don't mean it literally, so I don't need to reply literally. Usually I keep it simple by saying, "Good. You?" But sometimes I take it as an opportunity to talk about whatever I want. 

The knee-jerk response to a question is to answer it as asked. Instead, I pretend they just said, "Hi," or asked, "What's on your mind that might be interesting?" If I want to, I might tell them about the insight I had, or how I scored at a sale or how much better I felt after I hiked. 

If I don't want to share myself, I'll just say, "Good. You?" And I go about my business.

What's different about the "How are you?" question from the favorite cookie question is that it's a greeting, not a trick. They're not asking how I am to set me up for something they want me to do.

Also, we expect the question so we have the option of preparing.

As for me, I napped in my meditation this morning and was groggy afterwards. I hiked and I did feel better after. I'm happy about that.

That's how I am. How are you?

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