In her chart-busting song, Hello, Adele asks, ‘How are you?’ We often ask this question without thinking - it’s how we habitually greet each other. Our reply is often just as automatic ‘Fine’.
But what if we really do want to know how someone is? What if that person is someone we really care about? But what if they have cancer or some other long term illness? Surely we know how they are – they’re ill.
So how do we ask the question while giving an opt-out if your friend doesn’t want to share or are not up to talking about themselves?
This can be tricky but there is an easy solution.
It is as simple as adding just one more word; asking an open directive question.
Simply guide the “how are you” question somewhere - ‘How are you today?’ ‘How was your weekend?’ or ‘How are you enjoying the sunny weather?’.
This simple change to your question allows your friend to either answer the exact question or to open up and talk more about themselves. All the pressure is removed.
Try it for a few days …. it sounds strange at first but it does work.