“How are you?” is the default answer, as my brain either goes completely blank before receding into a state of existential crisis, or I just blurt out a “fine” and keep it moving.
I learned early on that most people don't care how you're actually feeling; they use it as a greeting instead, and engage in a baffling exchange of useless filler phrases (“I’m fine, how are you?”) before transitioning into actual conversation.
It's utterly mind boggling why they bother to go through this song and dance, when they could simply bypass that stage. Sometimes I mess them up by saying “Hi” instead of my default. If you want something, just ask me. Don't waste my time.
Lately, I've been more perplexed by a coworker who asks about my weekend. I've been responding in earnest, but unfortunately he immediately loses interest when I mention my books. I do a lot of writing on the weekend, as that's when I have the most time for it.
The one time I actually did something worth mentioning (we went to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and it was a blast!), he didn't ask about my weekend at all! I had the perfect response just lined up for him that Monday morning, but nope!
This was after I sort of snubbed him the previous week, when I only said “Yeah” and didn't elaborate further. Cause ya know…my writing isn't an interesting topic to him. Tried again last week, and he just walked away.
I get that he asks to be polite or whatever, but what's the point if you aren't going to even fake enthusiasm? Don't bother me with pointless pleasantries, it just makes us both feel awkward.
But I've learned my lesson: just say “No, I did nothing of interest over the weekend.”
Because apparently sincerity is overrated.