Most my friends know i have this thing. And as things go, it’s unfortunate how regularly it comes up.
So, like, people in the states often replace hello with how are you? Right?
“How are you?”
“Good, how are you?”
You know? You’ve heard this, like, everyday?
I’m living on the east coast for the rest of the month and the people in New England use it constantly. I don’t think i’ve heard anyone actually say hello since i got here:
“Good … now let us begin our business.”
And, yeah, it’s not really a big deal. I know no one means any harm with it, but like i said, i have a thing.
I really care how people are. It’s a big deal to me. And when i don’t care how people are, i don’t freaking ask. I’m coming to terms with the fact that i’m probably alone in this and i might be one of those annoying highly sensitive people. Add to that my uncontrollable need to politicize everything, and … well, i care.
And that means i’m often in uncomfortable situations:
“I’d like to purchase these groceries.”
” … “
Ok, usually i say hello instead and most people don’t even notice. Sometimes people stumble and move on. Twice people have said, “I asked how you are.” Which was uncomfortable, but also kinda awesome.
On the other hand, i also notice people sometimes don’t really respond when i ask how they are.
ME: “How are you?”
ME: “No, seriously i want to know how you’re doing.”
THEM: “Oh. Uh, well grandma died yesterday, so …”
Sometimes i wish i could turn off my thing. Sometimes i wish i didn’t care so much. But on the other hand, why the hell not? Isn’t it important to know the folks around you are doing? I bet you care, at least sometimes. I bet other people do too.
I dunno, sometimes i wish we’d reserve “hello” for hello and “how are you?” for i give a shit and i’m actually taking the time to find out how you’re doing.
So, i have a challenge for you, anonymous reader. I’d never wish anyone to turn into me. But, you know, just for week, one week, notice how often you ask people how they are, and notice how often you actually want to know what’s going on for them. Notice how often people ask you.
You don’t need to keep score or anything, just notice. And, hell, if you’re moved to, maybe sometimes pause for a moment and ask them for real.