“How are you?”
“Well good! Have a good day!”
Does anyone else ever tire of this conversation? The typical conversation starter that we all engage in multiple times daily and is undoubtedly pleasant, but in all honestly carries extremely little meaning or depth, hardly satisfies anyone, and yet we repeatedly say it anyway?
Think about it: every day you have a conversation similar to this one when passing someone you know. As you pass a person, you realize that you have approximately 10 seconds (give or take) to engage with them (if you so choose) and if you do choose to engage, of course you want to appear friendly. So you resort to the typical “how are you?” and most often their automatic reply is “good!” because aside from the fact that it’s our habitual response, of course we want people to think we’re actually “good” and have it all together.
*** DISCLAIMER: I’m not saying that sharing a friendly hello or sharing a smile is a meaningless, pointless act. It does have value; however, I believe there are ways to greet someone briefly and make it more intentional.
Yes, yes, yes. I am “good”; we’re all “good”. But to be honest…
I am tired of this conversation.
However, it seems that this conversation starter is often necessary. And if our response is anything other than the expected “good” reply, we tend to throw people off.
But throwing people off, could this in fact perhaps be a “good” thing?
I think so. :)
Giving an unexpected answer causes people to pause and actually listen. I have a friend who has his own trademark response of “I can’t complain” whenever I ask how he’s doing. Another friend of mine realized a while back that she was tired of hearing “fine”, “okay”, and all the standard responses for how are you doing. Consequently, she created her infamous catch phrase, “I’m PHAT, sassy, and ornery cause I can be” which she translates to mean that she’s good looking with attitude and doesn’t take much crap from anyone (an incredibly appropriate response that I feel suits her spunky personality perfectly).
But here’s the thing I’ve realized about both of these responses: they grab my attention, perk my ears so I’m really listening, and also make me smile.
But that’s only part of the conversation. Aside from the response, let’s focus on the initial conversation starter for a minute. Instead of asking “how are you”, or “what’s up”, is there anything more intentional we could ask?
A few years ago I heard a unique conversation starter from a motivational speaker. I don’t recall much of his talk; however, I do remember the unusual conversation starter he shared with us. Instead of asking “how are you”, this guy asked people to tell him something good whenever he greeted them. That’s how he reached out to others, by simply stating, “Tell me something good!”
TELL ME SOMETHING GOOD.
Is that not brilliant? I liked it immediately when I first heard that. It was a greeting that was quick, yet made people pause and really listen. Additionally, it directed their thoughts towards something positive to say in response.
So, let me ask you: It isn’t that uncomfortable to stray from the boring typical reply of “good”… is it? I encourage you to think of your own unique reply, something that will perk people’s ears. Get creative - What will your original intentional greeter and response be?
Start thinking. Start imagining. Start inventing. Start being honest with yourself.
And tell me something good. :)
is currently living life one day at a time in Moorhead, MN where she works on the Marketing Team at Concordia College.