We ask: “How are you?” only to walk away without waiting for an answer. Why do we ask in the first place? To make it seem like we care? Surely whomever you ask and walk away from must know you are not really interested in knowing how they are. Do they not? As I think about it, I come to a conclusion that a lot of people use “How are you?” as a greeting. Instead of saying: “Good morning. How are you?”, they skip the first part and go straight for the latter. It seems like they are trying to save time and skip the part that is not needed (greeting). Instead, they focus on what is more important (ha) and what helps build a connection (double ha).
The British ask: “You alright?”. This has me torn. One minute I feel like that is a better alternative to the “How are you?” and the next, I think it is worse. I feel like it is easier to say: “No” than: “Not that great”. However, does it not put more pressure on feeling “alright”? It makes you feel like you should feel exactly that – alright. It is a tight race, but I think I like the British version better, because (from my limited exposure) it seems like everyone who asks that question does expect an answer. That way, you do not run into a risk of spilling your guts as someone nonchalantly walks away. The question is asked, the answer is expected. Now it is your turn to decide if you really are alright or not.
A few days ago, I dialed someone’s number and got their voicemail. Because I did want to leave them a message, I had to listen to their greeting/ recording. Most of the time they run along the same lines: “I cannot get to the phone right now, so leave me a message and I will call you back when I can.” While I appreciate some creativity, it can be rather annoying when a three year old screeches into your ear and says that their mommy cannot come to the phone. It would be nice if I could just skip the intro and go right to the BEEP. While some voicemails make it possible for you to press the pound (hashtag) key to skip, most of them do not.
This time I was glad I did listen to this person’s recording. “Make it a great day” – was the closing line. I actually hung up without leaving a message and called again, hoping they would not answer and I would be sent straight to voicemail because I did not know if I heard correctly. Voicemail came on and I heard it clear as day: “MAKE it a great day.” It pierced right through me. It snapped me right out of my funk.
Why did this speak to me? How does such a slight alteration make that big of a difference? The difference is control and lack thereof. It is no secret that I like it when I am able to control things. Unfortunately, I know that ultimately many things cannot be controlled. That does not stop me from trying to be the master of my own life whenever I can. Until that voicemail, I have not thought of “Have a good day” in an in-depth manner. It seemed to just be a nice, polite phrase. But now… I like it a little less.
“Have” means that we have no input. It means that the day will just happen, and we can only hope that it will be a good one. We are at the mercy of the day and the mercy of others. “Make” means that we are in control of our destiny. It means that even if we face obstacles throughout the day, it is still possible to have a good one. We have to turn it around and MAKE it a good day.
This is not about being a superhero and not allowing anything bad to happen. It is about us being flexible and willing to change our perspective and be grateful for what we have even in the eyes of adversity. There are always two side of a coin and a bright side to every dark story.
We seem to think that some parts of our daily verbal communication are throwaways. That no one pays attention to them. That no one cares. If you think that, think again. Your interactions count from the minute you see someone for the first time when you meet until the last time you see them when you part. Make every moment and every word count. Do not talk just to say words. Talk to express yourself and connect with others.
What are your thoughts on “How are you?” vs. “You alright?”?
Which one do you like better?
Did you enjoy reading this post? Hit LIKE.
Have some thoughts on the topic? Share in the COMMENTS.
Do you regularly enjoy my blog? Be sure to FOLLOW.
Are my posts getting lost in your busy Reader? Try SUBSCRIBING.