Is it just me, or have we gotten ourselves into a greeting rut as a society?
Take this exchange for example. How many times have you been in this conversation?
You: "Hey Ted, how ya doing?"
Ted: "Good, how are you?"
You: "Great, thanks!"
You: "So, what have you been up to?"
Ted: "Not much, how 'bout you?"
You: "Oh - not too much."
You and Ted: (acknowledging nod)
Brilliant, ain't it?
Now, just for fun, try to get through your day tomorrow and NOT have this conversation with someone. I promise you, it's not as easy as it sounds.
Seriously... does anyone say anything other than some version of "hi, how are you?" or "hey, how's it going?" when we encounter someone anymore? I mean when did a rhetorical question become the only option for saying hello to someone?
I personally try to avoid the ridiculous exchange and usually say something like, "Hi, nice to see you again," or "Hello, you're looking well" - which of course assumes that either are true. Otherwise a simple "Hi" or "Good morning" with a smile works just fine.
My main problem with the over abused "how are you?" greeting is that most people don't really care, or even want to know how the other person actually is. Imagine how uncomfortable it would be if the exchangee decided to reply honestly with a "Oh, not so well. Right now I'm suffering from diarrhea and could very well crap my pants right here."
And think about how much time is wasted on these words that don't actually mean anything. I bet if you added up all the seconds you have spent trading them over a lifetime you would end up with DAYS of wasted time. No... wasted OPPORTUNITY! What if, instead of the empty "How'r you doing?" greeting, people used that time to briefly educate each other with USEFUL information.
"Hi Maria, did you know there's a two-for-one sale on plants at the greenhouse this weekend?"
"No, I didn't! And did you know that eating just 4 sticks of celery a day can help lower your blood pressure?
"No, I hadn't heard that!"
"Yes, it's true. Have a nice day!"
See? Doesn't that make a lot more sense?
Look, asking someone how they are isn't necessarily a bad thing, but does it have to be the ONLY thing? I think not. We're more creative than that. Oh, and for those of you who really DO want to know? I'm doing great... thanks for asking.