How many times have you been asked "how are you," only to force a reply of "good, how are you?" How many times have you thought about being honest with someone when being posed with this question? Maybe answering, "well actually, my day has been awful and here is why..." It is highly unlikely that one would actually respond this way and if they did they would probably have a face staring back in utter shock and then the questioner would most likely slowly walk away in the hopes that you would not notice.
Once upon a time, I was scolded when I was younger for answering "tired" to this question. I did not understand, I was just being honest. I really had felt tired and was ready to take a nap. Why ask the question if you do not want the honest response? To this day, I sometimes rattle up this question by giving a semi-honest answer. I would never tell someone all the troubles of my health in a conversation or tell them about the awful customer I had to deal with earlier. But what is it going to hurt if I tell someone, "oh I am good, just a little tired" or "I've had better days."
Certainly I understand the innocence of the question, the goodness, and kindness that it comes from. However, if you do not really care about the real answer that I have for that question then why ask?
Are we creating people who do not want to share information about their problems because they are told not to when asked one of the simplest questions? By telling someone that they must answer "good" to this question, rather than being honest with another person or themselves, aren't we missing out on the opportunity to address anxiety, depression, anger, and any other personal issues that may be going on?
I understand that one should not be an open book and tell the cashier at the grocery store of the pending thoughts that have been rooted in their brain stems until them the moment that they would be asked this question. However, one should feel comfortable enough with this question to tell a family member, friends, doctors, or counselors; which I feel may not be the case.
How am I, you ask? Well, I can tell you that I have been not been honest lately. Maybe out of fear for the real answer or maybe because I have been told "good" is the only answer that anyone would ever accept.