How Are You?
Posted by hhh4u
“How are you?” “How are ya?” “How you doin’?” This is a question that I asked almost every customer when I worked in retail. It is a question that I and most people ask strangers in greeting. But here are the real questions: Do we mean that? Do we really care how others are doing? Think about it. “How are you?” has become the same as “hello” or “hi.” It is something that is said in passing, and is something that is not meant to truly be answered. And when we do answer it, most of us simply and without thinking say “fine, thank you,” or “great,” etc. Sometimes we really are “fine,” but how do you feel when someone truthfully answers the question of how they’re doing? Taken aback? Shocked? Annoyed? To be honest, I also tend to use this question as a simple greeting, but I am always pleasantly shocked and intrigued when someone gives me a true answer. I was of course a little annoyed when they did so with a line of customers behind them, or if I was really busy and running a bunch of errands. Even so, I made an attempt to look the person in the eye and tried to have small talk with them. But it is because of these situations that I truly think about what I say, and mean what I say. The same goes for the response of “and you?” We once again tend to get surprised when a person actually gives us a truthful answer. Instead of saying it to be polite, why not say it because you mean it?
Why is it that this phrase that allows us to be open and emphatic towards each other has become as simple as “hi?” Does it signify society’s fear of compassion? I once heard the story of a store clerk in a mall who asked a guy how he was doing. The guy turned to him and said “do you really care?” and walked away. The store clerk first thought about what a jerk the guy was and then thought to himself “wait, I really don’t care.” I think about this story often when someone asks me how I am doing, and sometimes I feel compelled to ask if they really care. But I don’t do so because I guess deep down I feel that they really don’t, and it kind of stings to think that. Everyone wants to be cared for, don’t they? So let’s care more and truly mean what we say when we ask “how are you?” Don’t you think society needs more compassion? I sure do.
Peace and Love