Life is busy, crazy busy. We get caught up in our own lives, our own schedules, our own mental health. But when we get so caught up with everything going on in our personal lives, we forget about our friends. We forget to check in on our friends, even though they may be going through the same stress and craziness as we are.

And then, when we finally do check-in and reconnect with our friends, many of us ask that dreaded question: "How are you?" We certainly don't realize how hard that question can be for some people, it's something all of us ask out of habit. Many times, we don't know how to answer it. And even if we do know how to answer it, we keep it simple by just saying, "I'm fine."

While the "I'm fine" answer is adequate in some conversations, in other situations it just might not be enough.

For example, if we're having a talk with a significant other or a close friend, "I'm fine" just isn't sufficient. So to avoid that answer altogether, we must avoid the question. If you want to avoid becoming uncomfortable from that dreaded "how are you" question, here are 15 other ways that you can meaningfully check in on your loved ones.

1. "Is there anything you want to talk about from your day?"

2. "What made you smile today?"

3. "What did you do to take care of yourself today?"

4. "What is something interesting that happened today?"

5. "Have there been any changes in how you're feeling?"

6. "What has improved for you today?"

7. "What are you most excited for this week?"

8. "If you could do any part of today over again, what would it be?"

9. "How can I make your day easier right now?"

10. "What do you wish you did more of today?"

11. "What would you like to be different tomorrow?"

12. "What have you been listening to/watching/reading lately?"

13. "What has been hardest for you this week?"

14. "When did you feel appreciated/understood/loved today?"

15. "What did you wish you did a little less of today?"

Don't let "I'm fine" be the answer you expect and accept. Your friends need you to check on them, it just takes a little thought and love to help them.

Inspired by @sitwithwhit on Instagram.