Sometimes we walk through life on “autopilot” and we ask people how they are and vice versa. We respond “fine thank you” or some other blase´ and socially acceptable response. Do we or the person we are interacting with even care about the answer, or are these just the habitual niceties of daily existence that lead us to ask in the first place?
I was in Starbuck’s today and as I ordered my ridiculously American four espresso iced monstrosity that took three repetitions for the girl to get straight, I asked her intently “How are you today?”. At first she said she was alright, but when she saw I was still looking at her and that I actually cared, she got a bit sad and said, “No, I’m not okay. I am not feeling well today.”
It led to a really nice exchange and she thanked me for asking, and caring. Moral of the story: It is so easy to make a person feel important; to make them feel like they are worthy, and visible, by simply asking how they are, meaning it, and listening to whatever the answer may be.