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Old 03-28-2010, 01:46 PM   #26
lbb
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Re: Asking people "how are you?" -- Do you really care?

I'm curious: for all you people who "never ask unless you really want to know", what do you say when you encounter people? If you were to play a recording of exactly what was said in your last half-dozen encounters, what would it sound like? "Hi." "Hi". "..." "Well, bye!"?
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Old 03-28-2010, 03:44 PM   #27
Lorien Lowe
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Re: Asking people "how are you?" -- Do you really care?

"Hi."
"Hi. The patient in bed 5 needs a second set of blood cultures in 10 minutes, but I'm off the clock."
"OK, thanks. Have a good evening."
"Thanks, you too."

It is perfectly easy to be civil and functional without lying to each other.
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Old 03-28-2010, 05:36 PM   #28
lbb
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Re: Asking people "how are you?" -- Do you really care?

Wow, "lying"? That's a bit harsh. Are you always completely and perfectly honest in your every interaction? Do you think that when people say, "Fine, thanks," their intention is to deceive and mislead?
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Old 03-29-2010, 06:05 AM   #29
Anita Dacanay
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Re: Asking people "how are you?" -- Do you really care?

Mary, I personally didn't say that I never asked; I said that I meant it when I did ask. I actually ask people how they are doing pretty frequently. It's okay with me if, when people answer, they need to talk beyond the superficial "I'm fine" response.

One day I was at the local school playground with my daughter, and there was a man there with his daughter who was about the same age. I had never seen them there before. The kids began playing together and the man and I exchanged pleasantries, but he soon revealed that he wasn't really feeling "fine". His Dad had just died that week and he had brought his daughter to our neighborhood because he had grown up here, and he and his brothers were preparing to sell their parent's house now that both his Mom and Dad were gone.

So I sat and listened to him and tried to be present. He was obviously having a hard time caring for his daughter in the midst of his own grief, and I think it helped him that my little girl was keeping her occupied. So we stayed much longer at the park than I had intended to stay. I didn't have any words of wisdom for him, but I let him be honest and I was willing to listen and be present.

I am not always that open and giving of my time and energy, but if I see that someone really needs somebody to listen, I do try.
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Old 03-29-2010, 07:18 AM   #30
lbb
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Re: Asking people "how are you?" -- Do you really care?

That's a very nice story, Anita, but I'm not sure that that interaction implies that we should call people liars because they engage in a social convention of saying things that aren't meant to be taken literally. To go back to my earlier example, is it "lying" when a Korean responds to the standard greeting (which literally means "Are you at peace?") with a simple "Yes"?
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Old 03-29-2010, 12:41 PM   #31
trademark8806
 
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Re: Asking people "how are you?" -- Do you really care?

I kinda do belve that people are lying when they say fine when they are so oviouly not. I mean I gess they are fine in conpartion to someone elses cermnstatces, but thats not what I asked if I ask them how they are. I asked how in there own set of cermence in there own opion how are they? Like wise I actuly have truble answering with fine if I am not or anything else, that is not ture. Then I am also a bad liyer,so , mabby its just me.

Best wishes ,
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Old 03-29-2010, 02:10 PM   #32
Walter Martindale
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Re: Asking people "how are you?" -- Do you really care?

Had an uncle who used to say "worse" in a scottish accent....
I tried it for a while.

;-)
Walter
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Old 03-29-2010, 06:22 PM   #33
Shadowfax
 
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Re: Asking people "how are you?" -- Do you really care?

Quote:
is it "lying" when a Korean responds to the standard greeting (which literally means "Are you at peace?") with a simple "Yes"?
Well... if he is in fact not at peace then yes he would be lying. A lie is a lie. That said there is such a thing as being too honest in certain situations.

Personally if someone says to me how are you and I'm not fine I am straight up and say I've had better days.

A teacher of mine in collage used to always say, "Fantastic! But I'll get better. "
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Old 03-29-2010, 06:36 PM   #34
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Asking people "how are you?" -- Do you really care?

Quote:
Lorien Lowe wrote: View Post
It's not the formality; it's that I'm being forced by convention to answer one way ("fine,") regardless of the actual reality (If I do say something other than, "fine," like, "I'm aggravated," or "I'm tired," it comes across either as a complaint or an invitation to pry). Even if I actually am 'fine,' the asker has no right to believe that answer; I'm going to give the same answer regardless, because I'm forced to.
I disagree that you're "forced" to answer in any particular way and that answering honestly is an invitation to pry. My response to folks who say things like they've "been better" is to express I'm sorry to hear that and that I hope things will go better. When I've expressed that things are going less than well for me and people try to pry, I don't have any problem politely ending that part of the conversation.

Quote:
By asking the question they're declaring that the don't give a damn whether I lie to them or not, as long as I toe the social line. I'm also being forced by convention to pretend that the asker gives a damn, even when they're clearly not paying attention to the answer. Then I'm forced by convention to pry into someone else's private life and/or to ask them to lie to me, and then they thank me as though it was good for them and as though I had a non-social-suicide choice in the matter.
I think you're making some pretty broad leaps here. I don't know if you're just speaking somewhat colorfully, but this doesn't fit at all with my experiences being a dedicated "how are you" asker (and honest replier). Working in commercial carpentry, often at a major department store, I come into contact with a fairly wide range of people. I've yet to commit social suicide...and in fact seem to get along better and with more people than most.

Quote:
It's just a sickeningly saccharine mess of deceit that is being used as if it were a greeting, when "hi" or "hello" would do. It's as though the standard greeting were,
"hello, the sky is purple today."
"Hi, and fish are best eaten raw and slimy with bacterial growth."
"Yes, I agree. Thank you."
As a recovering misanthrope I'm LMAO. Part of me wants to agree, but we all know red apples sail dogs, so clearly you cannot refute my excellent shoes.

Quote:
Which seems cute, until you imagine people saying that over and over every single day, in complete seriousness, with the delusion that they are doing something friendly and good and important. It's a fake facade of forced friendliness (sorry for the alliteration), because collegiality and courtesy are not sufficient: everyone has to pretend to be everyone else's buddy.
If the decoder understands the meaning of the messenge, something nice has been accomplished: a simple pleasantry. It can be saccharine and fake and a bunch of other negative things, but it can also be genuine and sometimes even a little act of kindness can make a big difference. It's rare, but it does happen. I prepare for that eventuality by caring about everyone as best I know how and part of that is by asking a simple question. It's not just a convention when used properly, it's an interpersonal relationship builder. That may sound like a cliche, but I'd argue that's only to the jaded. Anyhow, I digress.

Quote:
I hate it when fast food workers give me a forced smile and say (for example), "Hi, welcome to Starbucks, My name is _____. What can I get for you today?" It's so clearly scripted, so clear than their pay will be docked (or something) if they don't smile and recite that exact script, every single time.
More and more it sounds like it's the lack of sincerity you dislike. I used to work as a customer service rep. (call center) and I also dislike the scripting corporations think make for authentic kindness. We were told at one point we had to work 4 of 7 slogans into every call, even when a customer tells us they're super busy and just need to know how much airtime they had left on their cell phone. In many cases it actually achieves the exact opposite of the desired effect, particularly by people who recognize it.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 03-29-2010, 07:57 PM   #35
lbb
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Re: Asking people "how are you?" -- Do you really care?

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Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
Well... if he is in fact not at peace then yes he would be lying. A lie is a lie.
And a tautology is a tautology, but the question is not whether "a lie is a lie" -- that's a no-brainer. The question is whether a traditional greeting is a "lie" because it is no longer used in its literal, historical sense. I think the average Korean would disagree with you. As for me, I've said my say and there's no point in repeating myself.
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Old 03-29-2010, 11:47 PM   #36
Lorien Lowe
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Re: Asking people "how are you?" -- Do you really care?

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Wow, "lying"? That's a bit harsh. Are you always completely and perfectly honest in your every interaction? Do you think that when people say, "Fine, thanks," their intention is to deceive and mislead?
I try to be perfectly honest; I don't think I lie to other people any more than I lie to myself, and I don't think that I do that any more than the average person. I try really hard to be in touch with reality. If someone asks me something I don't want them to know, I just look at them without answering, which usually gets the point across.

I think that people who say, "fine, thanks," generally have the intention to comply with social rules first and adhere to reality second. Is it really possible, though, to say that you're "fine" when you're not, without an awareness that you are deliberately speaking an untruth?

@ Matthew, having clerks who are complete strangers to me ask how I'm doing is one of the most annoying things of all, but I'm not surprised at all that most people seem to like it and get along with you well. I'm perfectly aware that this pet peeve of mine is a minority one, because (as you mentioned) one sees it popping up more and more in customer-service situations in a very scripted way, and most people just enjoy the social interaction without thinking about what it means. I don't think that the marketing geniuses, who can convince us that beer will make the opposite sex fall all over us, would be advocating that script if it didn't work most of the time. It's just one more aspect of humans that I just don't get. And yes: absolutely it's the lack of sincerity.

All of that said, I really do like the suggestions that a couple of people have made for 'I can't complain,' and 'I've been better, but I'll make it.'

Last edited by Lorien Lowe : 03-30-2010 at 12:02 AM.
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Old 03-31-2010, 03:42 PM   #37
Don_Modesto
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Re: I just gotta ask...this has nothing at all to do with Aikdo...

Quote:
Tara Marsh wrote: View Post
Exactly, I when asked a question have this "inablity" to lie.
Lie.

Is it a lie when you "dial" your mobile phone even though it has no dial? Do you say "sunrise/sunset" with a straight face even while not subscribing to geocentricity?

In Indonesia they ask you where you're going. They don't care either. Like "How are you?", the question is empty of the meaning of the words. The real meaning, which we know then from the context, not the words, is, "Let's be friendly."

No problem.

Don J. Modesto
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Old 04-02-2010, 05:52 AM   #38
bulevardi
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Re: Asking people "how are you?" -- Do you really care?

Something more bizar:

In Austria, when hiking in the Alps, you meet people on your hiking path and when they cross you, they say: "Grüss Gott", which means: "greet God".
It's a standardized greeting in that region that everyone does around there when meeting each other.
Quite strange for someone who isn't used to that.

Even if you're not a Christian, you just say "Grüss Gott" back in return, just as saying hello, or "Guten Tag" (good day). No offence further, they're really friendly and kind people out there in the Alps.

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Old 04-02-2010, 06:09 AM   #39
bulevardi
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Re: Asking people "how are you?" -- Do you really care?

In French, they say "ça va". They say it as a question, but aswel as an answer.
> "ça va?"
> "ça va".
Literally "Is it going?" > "It is going."

You can always try saying "Hi, where are you?" instead of "Hi, how are you?". And then count the seconds to the moment they think "wait... he asked something else..."
Or just mumpling something uncomprehensible like "Hi, howwaraaowou?" and see if they just notice. If they ask "what?", you answer: "Hi, howwaraaowou?".

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