Why do we always quickly answer “How are you?” with “Fine” or some variation of it, even if we aren’t fine? I guess at least part of it is because we are pretty sure the people asking don’t really want to know that we had a horrid morning, or that things aren’t going so great with our kid right now. And part of it is because we don’t want to let anyone know that we are not a superman or a superwoman who can handle anything and everything that gets thrown at us.
How do we get out of this rut? Perhaps we could try not asking “How are you?” unless we are really curious and willing to listen to an honest answer. We could replace it with another greeting; maybe a simple “Good morning” will suffice. And maybe save the “How are you?” for people and times we really want to know the answer.
As for coming up with an answer, I really don’t know what to do. If you know the person asking really does want to know, perhaps answer as honestly as you can, without dumping a lot of information on people. And if you think it’s just a standard greeting coming out of someone’s mouth, maybe “Fine” is the best way to go. Perhaps you have a better answer; we’d love to hear your suggestions.