How are you doing?

No, really. 

Take a moment.  Think for a second. 

How are you doing?

This is the type of question we throw out to each other casually, without any real thought.  “Hey, how ya doin’?” must be the number one greeting we Americans use—or maybe it’s the close cousin, “How are you?”  The reply to both is expected to be a positive one.   

Seriously:  when is the last time you responded, “Well, actually…” And then proceeded to answer honestly?

It’s not just here in the USA, either.  I know the countries where I’ve traveled have a similar greeting system.  In France, the question is “how’s it going?”  And the answer is “It’s going well.”  In Spain, people say, “How are you?” and again, the standard reply is always “Good”.  In Brazil, they sometimes even take it up a notch and sing out, “Everything a jewel?” Of course, yet again, the answer is affirming: “All is a jewel.” 

But I’ve changed during COVID.  Maybe it’s because I see so few people.  Or maybe it’s because getting together with anyone requires forethought, dedication and determination.  In any case, these days, when I ask someone, “Hey, how ya doin’?” I truly want to hear more than the standard brush-off of “good”.  

Listening a bit harder:  today’s silver lining.