How are you?

27 Responses

  1. Ashwini CN says:

    Oh, I feel you! I am the exact opposite of everything you mentioned. I talk A LOT. Though I don’t divulge any personal/sensitive details, I have absolutely no problem talking to anyone πŸ™‚ When I was visiting my sister in Singapore the can drives (mostly Indians) would enquire about what’s happening back home. Even now when someone asks about a trip or about anything in general, I cannot stop myself from talking πŸ˜€

    And people like it if you tell them all the good stuff and unless something is extremely bad, I would try to project everything in a positive way πŸ™‚

  2. Ashwini CN says:

    Oh, I feel you! I am the exact opposite of everything you mentioned. I talk A LOT. Though I don’t divulge any personal/sensitive details, I have absolutely no problem talking to anyone πŸ™‚ When I was visiting my sister in Singapore the can drives (mostly Indians) would enquire about what’s happening back home. Even now when someone asks about a trip or about anything in general, I cannot stop myself from talking πŸ˜€

    And people like it if you tell them all the good stuff and unless something is extremely bad, I would try to project everything in a positive way πŸ™‚

  3. Danielle says:

    I’m terrible at small talk. Maybe it’s all the years in New York, but I don’t want to talk to the cab driver. I’m too shy to keep the conversation going and too distracted to pay attention to the questions. I especially like the way you describe the feeling of being back home.

    Glad to see you back on the grids!

  4. Amy says:

    I love the way travel affects how one views home, if even for a small bit. I definitely think people want the good, the bad, the truth in an essay! Small talk feels much harder to navigate. Good job bringing that to light.

  5. Mabel Kwong says:

    I so can relate to this post, and at the end you asked such a great question, what do people want to hear? Living in Malaysia, like you I felt very nervy and hesitant about chatting with cab drivers or really anyone on the street really. I was always told no, don’t talk to anyone or else they will take advantage of you. Living in Australia these days, so many people around me talk openly to cab drivers or the person sitting next to them on the tram. It’s something I don’t think I’ll ever get used to, and my introverted side probably is a reason why.

    I think society and people in general have certain expectations – that they expect you to have some kind of story to tell. Depending on the person I will tell a different story of my trip – I’d tell someone I’m not so close with about what I saw and what I ate, and those whom I’m closer with all that and also how I felt.

    Wishing you well this year, Parul πŸ™‚

  6. Simple yet powerful post, Parul. It is true that I am asked not to talk to cab drivers and other strangers. The fresh and light conversation is all we need and they remind us of it every once in a while. A true listening ear to ease the otherwise sometimes boring/long journey.

  7. My experience says that people only want to hear the good. Also, the listening skills have gone down so much that I notice people tuning out after they’ve asked the question πŸ™‚
    You raised a good point, Parul.

  8. asha says:

    I like that you chose a simple, ubiquitous greeting to examine cultural differences. It’s in those little details that identity really lies, I think. When I moved to the US from Australia, I wasn’t expecting culture shock. Broadly speaking, they’re similar cultures. But it was the minutiae of life that I found really jarring, that was what threw me off balance — is it zee or zed, is it a biscuit or a cookie, and where’s the thickened cream?

  9. Lisa says:

    Yeah, I have to wonder where the tradition of asking “How are you” even started. I’m going to dive into that Google hole! I think, to answer your question, what people really want to hear is us asking them more questions about them, because generally people really like to talk about themselves. And, maybe THAT is why we started asking “how are you” in the first place. Maybe there was a time when we really DID care, when we actually HAD the time to listen to the answer. IDK. Anyway, I am happy to see you on the grids! πŸ™‚

  10. Natasha says:

    When we lived in Singapore it was common place to have long, animated chats with the cabbies. Some of them would be memorable and oh so hilarious. In India we are taught not to trust, unfortunately.
    I love the ease with which people greet random strangers in the Western world and many other places. It sure is heart warming.
    But then yes Home is where our heart is and nothing like being in ones own homeland.

    https://natashamusing.com/2018/01/nurturing-mondaymusings-woty/
    Natasha recently posted…Nurturing: #MondayMusings #WOTYMy Profile

  11. In the Western world, How are you is definitely just more of a hello, an icebreaker. Most of the time, the majority people don’t want to know the truth, only just the good. It must be a boring job driving people from place to place if there wasn’t any talking. You never have to give too much personal information in those situations, because they are simply trying to pass the time until the next cab fare comes around. πŸ™‚ It’s true, though, after a visit somewhere abroad, you do look at your world with different eyes. That’s what makes home, homely. πŸ™‚

  12. Vinodini says:

    That’s one thing I love about my visits abroad. The openness with which people greet each other is so refreshing. Any way, besides that I agree with you on the comfort level one feels when in our own country which is unmatched.

  13. Ramya Abhinand says:

    When we exchange these simple pleasantries, its more about wanting to know briefly that all is good with the other person. Words may tumble out in different forms, but the bottom line is we want to know if things are going on fine. Or sometimes it is just to exhange that smile, so that theres that element of human interactin… Oh there could be a million ways to look at it. πŸ™‚

  14. Stacie says:

    I think Uber drivers feel like if they make friendly talk they will get a better tip, now that tipping is in the app (when it started, one of the features was no tipping but then that changed). That said, I think there are a lot of rhetorical questions. How are you? is basically like “hello.” The answer doesn’t matter, really. I”m a scientist so I always want to hear the truth πŸ™‚

  15. Rajlakshmi says:

    You made me realize how much I talk. If someone asks me about my trip, I would talk till their ears would start bleeding πŸ˜…
    Initially I too used to feel that way when someone asked me about myself welfare. Traveling always bring about different perspectives. 😊

  16. The best thing about travel is for us to gain broader perspective to see things in a fresh manner and I mean such fears are legitimate but once we get a hang, we are able to overcome them. Enjoyed reading Parul.

  17. Balaka Basu says:

    This is true…each travel changes my perspective..and as you said after each travel when I am back home I love it more..it is indeed like quenching thirst..This is a very ‘written from the heart’ post. Thanks for making my day.

  18. Shilpa says:

    This is one thing I like about US. Greeting everyone one known or a stranger. I remember during my India trip and I was in this phase of smiling to everyone but I was surprised by the strange reactions from them. It’s better to save the real to the people whom we can trust.

    • Parul Thakur says:

      I also loved that part. When we have expats visiting India, they say hello whether they know us or not! How many would do that in India? Thank you Shilpa for stopping by!

  19. Such a good point. I tend to share the good because, let’s face it, people can get uncomfortable if the truth is not so good. I sometimes wonder, “Are you asking because you care? Or because it’s polite?”

  20. What do people want to hear? I would say most of them want to hear the good. The truth better be reserved for the close ones. I get the culture part. Here we are taught to keep to ourselves, not to talk to strangers lest people will try to rob us but in US, there is more openness. I remember when I first landed in US, strangers would smile and say hello to me on daily walks around the apartment and I used to find it fishy because who does that in India.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge

%d bloggers like this: