In North American society, “hi, how are you?” is considered a routine polite greeting. People spout it off without even pausing to consider what they’re saying or asking. When I took German in university, one of the things we learned early in the course is that, to German speakers, asking ‘how are you?” is considered extremely rude unless one, the person you’re asking is a close friend or family member, and two, you’re prepared to take the time to listen to the truth about how they really are feeling/doing. But, in North America, the polite response to this polite query is to lie. No matter what we may be feeling, we’re expected to say good or fine or okay. We’re expected to limit our response to one or two words and never tell the person asking the truth unless it’s short and positive.
The older I get, and the deeper I get into what I believe and how to live it out, the less I like the social niceties which require lies in response. The so called ‘little white lies’ grate on my nerves. As far as I’m concerned, a lie is a lie is a lie and it’s better not to say anything in some situations.
I do believe there are situations where is is better to keep silent. Because yes, we should always tell the truth when we speak. That said, just because we believe something to be true, doesn’t mean it needs to be blurted out without a thought to how it will be received.
If the truth cannot be spoken in Love, it’s far better to keep silent
I may say hi or hello or good (insert time of day), but I rarely ask anyone how they are unless I want to hear a true answer from them.