The Obligatory “How Are You?”

I work in an office. And I love it. I get to sit at a desk all day, but I also get to walk back and forth around the office. I’ve learned a lot in my almost year of full-time work. But my favorite life lesson by far is the culture of the obligatory office greeting.

Each morning, you get to walk into the office. And the first time you see each person, you have the following conversation:

Person 1: “Hi, how are you?”

Person 2: “Good. How are you?”

Person 1: “Good.”

Person 2: “That’s good.”*
*This last comment is optional. I approximate that it occurs in 30% of obligatory office greetings.

I have this conversation with 15-20 people per day…it feels like…it’s probably more like 5 people. And I don’t mind it—because it’s habit at this point. It’s just an observation.

I’ve always wanted to set aside one day to actually answer the “How are you?” question truthfully. It would surprise people if I came back with, “Kind of bloated, thanks.” Or, “I developed this weird rash.”

Although I’ve always want to do it, I never will. I will continue to respond with the required, “Good. How are you.” And I’ll enjoy it.

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