How many times throughout the day do you ask someone, “How are you?” and how many times do you tune out before your question is even answered?
When meeting someone for the first time, how many times do you shake hands, introduce yourself and say, “Nice to meet you!” but forget the person’s name minutes later.
I get it, our time is limited – and our attention spans even more so. We’re so consumed with finding immediate gratification and looking for the ‘what’s next’ that we reply robotically and automatically disengage ourselves from one of the simplest forms of communication and compassion.
Not pointing fingers here because I’m as guilty as anyone. During this same “How are you?” exchange last week, I stopped and caught myself answering and, in turn, asking the same question out of a repetitive nature. I happened to be having a stressful day, but said “I’m doing well” out of habit. Liar.
Are you (me included) really inquiring about how someone’s doing and anticipating their honest response or are we asking for the formality of filling the conversation gap?
So, I challenge you (and myself) to truthfully ask how someone’s day is going and to truthfully listen and absorb their response.
I challenge you (and myself) to do it for the hope and future of our interpersonal skills.