Have you been in an exchange with someone recently that goes something like this:
You: “How are you?”
Other Person: “Good, and you?”
You: “I’m good, thanks.”
We ask the “How are you?” question with such regularity and little thought and answer the question from a standard set of responses. We’re either busy, fine, okay or good.
Most of us ask this question out of habit, but also because it’s the polite thing to do. We usually ask it as a greeting and not necessarily with the intent of actually acquiring information about the other person.
These days we are asking the, “How are you?”, question even more in our exchanges with others as we all live through the current COVID-19 pandemic. In some cases, we really DO want to know how the other person is doing.
During this time of social isolation and distancing, I hope you are reaching out and checking in with your students, parents, team members and others you love and care about. But, what alternative questions can you ask that shows you are genuinely asking about their life and well-being, leads to new information and builds a stronger relationship with them?
There are five alternative questions below that are positive, seek information and can spark a conversation. Best of all, the five questions can’t be answered with a one-word response like yes, no, busy or fine!
Here they are:
#1. What was the best part about your day? or What are you most looking forward to about your day?
#2: What work is most exciting you this week?
#3: What activities or projects are giving you energy lately?
#4: Tell me one thing you’ve learned or read recently that inspired you.
#5: What is one thing you could do right now to make the day even better?
These five questions can be asked by parents of their kids, supervisors of their team members, teachers or youth workers of their students, spouses or partners of each other and you with your loved ones.
These days I think we could all benefit from positive energy, conversation, information and inspiration. One way you and I can help with this is to quit asking the usual “How are you?” question and instead ask questions that invite sincere engagement and show genuine care.
So, tell me. What is one thing you’ve learned or read recently that inspired you? Email me your response at firstname.lastname@example.org. I plan to share your inspiration in a future blog that will reach thousands of others around the world who might need a positive message or vibe in their life right now.
Take care. Stay in. Stay healthy. Stay positive.