How are you? A sentence that is often the first learnt when trying to master a new language, to most learners, no matter the language, it comes easy enough. But, what about the meaning? I’ve found on my (albeit humble) travels so far that the meaning of this commonly used sentence, or rather phrase, changes wherever you are.
In England, ‘How are you? ‘ is more of a greeting. It’s often accompanied by a kiss on a cheek, or, quickly followed by ‘How’s things? ‘ and ‘What have you been up to? ‘ This is quite hilarious because, it seems to take three whole sentences to get a conversation really started. Actually, speaking to a close friend just this week, I found myself doing exactly that! “How are you? Great, well… “ and was halfway through my next sentence when I realized, she’d actually started to tell me how she was! She’d put her phone down, was making eye contact, and telling me, as I’d asked, how life was going for her at the time. The absolute shame of it! I hadn’t given the sentence a second thought, I was eager to get to the next point in our chat. Oh for shame! However, you know something?
It was one of the most uplifting and mentally refreshing conversations we’d had for a long time. There was a lot to talk about! Moving Countries, new ventures into Business, Family, Health, so much that could’ve been lost had we not taken the time to think about the question and the value of the reply. We got back to basics, having the chat that we needed in that moment, rather than filling in the gaps with text messages across oceans later, feeling closer, but not as fulfilled as talking face to face. We both left that conversation feeling like we’d been to a therapy session. In our lives, it can be all too easy to take those in it for granted. Recently I decided, enough is enough and wrote down five ways to make more time for myself and the many wonderful people around me.
- Slow Down! Wherever you live, you don’t need to be rushing around, this elevates your stress levels thus slowing brain function and response. Slowing down means you can enjoy your day, without the stress factor
- Exhale. Repeat.
- Have a routine and stick to it!
- Excerise, get the blood flowing, get your brain working!
- Make realistic arrangements with friends. Look, we can’t always stick to the plans we make, but scaling back, means being able to manage your Social Life better, this giving more time to friends. The enjoyment goes both ways!
Imagine how much more enriched our friendships would be if we asked ‘How are you? ‘ and really, meant it? Or if you are asked, what will be your reply? Would you be tempted to skim over it? Are you tempted to skim over it now? It’s about looking at the world around us, and the people in our lives and making the time for them, and ourselves too. Your response to that question is just as important. You are just as important. So, darling, the next time someone asks you how you are, take a moment, or a few, and settle in for a good chat, you have the time.