First, often the person asking doesn’t really care.
Second, often there is no time to answer, because the so-called greeting occurs when two people are crossing paths. By the time the askee can answer, the asker is long gone. Furthermore, the askee does not then have the opportunity to return the courtesy by asking how the asker is.
Third, given the first reason, if there IS time to answer, it often creates dishonestly. If the askee is doing poorly, a lie must be constructed due to the knowledge that the asker is not interested. No matter how bad life is, the askee has to say “I’m fine.” Or, the askee must be ready with a routine answer to the question that mostly evades the question, and the routine answer is often a cliche:
- Hangin’ in there.
- Any day above ground is a good day.
- I’ll feel better when it’s Friday.
I say we stamp out this infernal practice. There are plenty of ways to greet someone without resorting to insincere inquiries.
As soon as I have enough energy to take a shower, I’m gearing up.