An ordinary day and an ordinary classmate or colleague comes up to you and asks, “Hey, how are you?” How am I. Let’s say I find this is one of the most annoying questions one can ask. Admit it, 90% of your IM conversations starts like this, or a variant, depending on your social class/ status/ intelligence/ t-shirt/ favourite fruit. These may include “sup dude?” or “How’s da shizzle?” or a more formal “How have you been?”.
“I’m fine, you?” The standard answer. You shouldn’t answer that negatively by the way. They’ll be looking at you as if you are a complete loony. And don’t forget to ask the question in return, because then they will think you are being rude and that you don’t ‘care’ about people.
You might be thinking, what the hell is wrong with that question? It’s hypocritical. People almost always lie. They are not interested in how you are really doing, they expect you to say that you’re ok and then they will reply that that they are good as well. Imagine they say that they feel terrible. You’d be completely thrown off, nobody wants to hear that. You’re not supposed to say “well, you got a minute? I’m not doing fine at all. My cat recently died and I’m really sad about it. Physically I also have some complaints, I think I might have some serious disease, I’ve been having a headache for hours. I guess it’s all because of this insomnia…” Etcetera.
The question is worth shit. It has lost its value, if it ever had any. It’s a question one asks out of politeness rather than concern.
Besides, it also an annoying question because it covers a lot of fields,
Do you want to know how I’m doing financially, spiritually or physically , the love life or the home-situation? Be specific!
Don’t think that there is really no one who cares about you, even though you might feel this way in an emo-mood. Of course there are people who will honestly be interested in how you are doing, to whom you can tell about your dramatic autobiography, that’s what friends are for.
Something interesting to try is avoiding the question, it proofs to be difficult but with result. A good way to start is to tell everybody that you don’t want them to ask THE question. After this column was published in my schoolpaper, people stopped asking me, or asked me something I suggested as an alternative, namely, if a person has experienced something interesting lately. That way you do show interest but don’t bother people too much.
Now we’ve finished that bit.. tell me, what’s up? The sky or the ceiling?