HOW ARE YOU (REALLY)?
“How are you?” is a greeting we’ve been using for a long time and has spawned several mutations, such as the famous, “How ya doin?” The response is usually something like, “Fine, thank you.” Over the years though, we’ve changed our response to indicate elation, such as “Great!”, “Fabulous!”, “Super!”, “Wonderful!”, etc., or to denote depression, such as “Lousy,” “Horrible,” or “I could kill someone!”
You can learn a lot about someone simply by how they answer the question and govern yourself accordingly. I used to hear a lot of people say things were “Terrific” or other such positive exclamations, but I haven’t heard it in awhile. Instead, I tend to hear more negative responses which I interpret as a sign of the times.
I used to know a guy who thought everything was “Super!” and appeared to be very upbeat. Time and again, you can count on him saying everything was “Super!” He was quite a salesman. He moved out of our area years ago and I understand he did quite well for himself in land development. Then the recession came along which clobbered his company into bankruptcy. This snowballed into losing his house, his family, everything. Last I heard, he was sitting in jail somewhere. All his bravado had come crashing down on him. He may have been a positive type of guy, but he didn’t know how to manage his business and overextended himself.
Shortly after learning of this story, I bumped into another friend and when I asked how she was, she looked directly at me and replied, “I’m okay.” Simple, yet sincere. I smiled as I knew it was more of an honest appraisal of her condition than the other guy who said everything was unquestioningly “Super!”
Some people might think the response, “Okay,” as a mediocre answer, if not rather negative. I tend to see it more as a sign of candor and honesty. I would much rather hear a person say they are “Okay” rather than “Super!” any day of the week. As a matter of fact, anyone saying they’re “Great” I tend to treat suspiciously these days. To me, “Okay” is positive, everything else is negative.
Now all I have to do is figure out how to respond to, “Wha’zup?”
Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.
Keep the Faith!
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Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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