Most of the time when someone says “How are you?” it’s my understanding that it’s not a real question. Of course just because the correct response is “I’m fine, you?” or similar doesn’t change the fact that I’m an awkward git.
When someone initiates conversation with me like that, or with something similar like “How’s things?” I usually try to reply with something useful. By that I mean that I’ll say how I am and what’s affecting that, or what I’ve been up to lately.
“How are you?”
“I’m okay. A bit stressed – I’m struggling with a couple of sculpts.”
It’s not much, I know, but it’s more useful than “Fine” as a conversational gambit. Presumably I do it because of a combination of wanting to give an honest answer to a perceived question and due to the principals of improv. “Fine” is the equivalent of killing off the leads others provide – not a good way to do things.
Hardly a world-shattering revelation but I felt it affects my life enough to be worth blogging about.