Sunday, 31 March 2013
When asked "How are you?", the reply "I'm fine" is inadequate. It is necessary to return the question.
What can I say? I just didn't get it. To be quite frankly honest, sometimes I still don't get it. I'm a very direct person by nature and I don't tend to elaborate on my point. Nothing is more irritating to me than mindless chatter. So it took a while for me to realise that not everyone feels the way that I do - an idea that I'm still trying to adapt to.
I suppose it's one of those things that we're expected to do for no good reason. I mean, it's polite to ask someone how they are, despite the fact that I don't actually want to know how you are. Is that rude? I'll ask if I want to know. I'm not even sure that it matters seeing as, here in England at least, the only replies you will get are "good" or "fine", even if they're untrue. Any other reply is very unusual. So why ask if the answer is almost always the same?
Keeping up with societal expectations can be mentally draining, but at the end of the day the physical effort it takes is little to none. It doesn't hurt to ask a question and nod politely at the answer, whether we want to hear it or not. I do still quite often forget to return the question but I try to make a conscious effort to remember and that's really all I can do.