Why I stopped asking my daughter, How are you?

When I was a child I would be asked, How are you?  I would be foolish enough to answer with the truth.  I soon realized that people did not want the truth they wanted pleasantries.  Okay, it is a social protocol we have to adapt to. But does it have to be the norm when you are looking for an authentic meaningful relationship with someone?

Every day my daughter would get off the bus and I would greet her:

Hi! How are you?
She would say “fine!” (Kids are far from unaware of this protocol).
I would then ask, “are you sure?”
She would say “I’m fine!”
Okay, then “how was your day?”
“Fine! Mom”.
And just like that, the conversation was over and we would keep on with our tasks.

I wanted to be more connected and have a more meaningful relationship with my daughter.  I knew something had the change.  So I tried something, one day when she got off the bus, I looked at her said
“Hello! I’m happy to see you.”
She smiled, there was a moment of silence (The dreaded moment of silence we cannot seem to bear in out culture). Then something magical happened, she started talking about her day, how she felt and what was going on in her world.

Ever since that day, I have not asked her how she was.  I still ask strangers because pleasantries are polite and make room for a kind would. But there is not room for pleasantries in an authentic relationship and human connection.

I have also started answering to the question will a real answer with the people that I trust and love.  This has made room for growth and less suffering.  Opening up will always make room for positive energy, but it does require a lot of courage.

So for you today I say: “Hello!  I’m happy to hear from you.”

“Hello!  I’m happy to hear from you.”