People don’t really want to know how you are when they see you and say, “Hi, how are you?” It is just a greeting. They really don’t want an answer. Not an honest one anyway. They don’t want to know how you are really feeling, or how your day has been. It is supposed to be met with another, “Hi, I’m fine. How are you?” Whether you are really fine or not. I must be very weird, because this has always bothered me. I never know how to answer. I can not just say the required, “fine.” In fact, I seethingly hate the greeting all together!
It requires a lie as an answer! No one is “fine” every day of the frickin’ year! I have a problem with lying. I just can’t do it, so I can not answer this greeting. I might reply, “Oh, Hi. How are you and ?’ and simply skip an answer altogether or just say, “the usual.” Let them guess. I try to not use the greeting when I run into friends I see.
I might ask “how is your day treating you so far today?” The difference is though, I actually mean it, and I do want you to answer. I like to take the time to know how my friends are doing, even if their answer might be negative or sad. Here in the U.S. of A. we are always in so much of a rush. “How are you,” is supposed to be used as a quickie greeting with a quick response so we can make a quick getaway. We could learn something from our Anishanabe neighbors about slowing down a bit to find out how our friends and family are really doing, honestly really doing. Taking the time to stand on the street when we see them and really mean it when we say, “Hi, how are you today?”
I guess I also learned that from having a foreign exchange student in my home. Europeans take a lot of time around meal times to talk to each other and really check in with each other about how they’re doing, what’s going on in their lives. When they see a friend or family on the street it’s like a reunion! Hugs and kisses, then lots of talking, and then more hugs and kisses, even if they saw each other only days ago! I really miss Eleonore. We had a lot of great talks.
Well, when you see me at the mall, please, I’m not being angry or bitchy or rude when I don’t answer your, “how are you” as you quickly say “hi” as you continue to walk past, I just know you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to chat. I’ll smile and nod, but I am “the usual.”