When people ask someone ‘How are you?’ the first response isn’t always the most accurate. When people take time to ask a second question, they get closer to how the person actually is. When people listen and pay attention, they show they care rather than just exchanging greetings.
‘Yeah, are you?’ is a common deflector. It deflects the conversation or exchange back to the other person giving an opportunity to not open up. A second question to them shows care rather than just the regular formality of a greeting.
‘How are you coping with these difficult times?’, ‘Have you had chance to spend time doing things you like doing?’, ‘Have you anything exciting you’re looking forward to?’, ‘Would you like to meet for a cuppa sometime to talk more?’, or similar follow up questions give opportunities for people to open up should they feel inclined to.
It is my hope that this coming year for me to improve on this second question approach. Personally, I feel a great lift and the warm feeling of support when people ask secondary questions to me, and I know others do too. It is the difference between a fleeting passing greeting and a caring supportive enquiry.