It bothers me immensely that when you see someone in the hallway, in addition to just saying hi, you feel compelled to say, "How are you?"
This happens to me all the time. I'll exchanged hi's with someone, and then they'll say, "How are you?" And I'll say "fine" or "good." And a lot of the time, I'm not fine or good, but what else am I supposed to say? They've already practically walked past me.
And then of course, I'll have to say back, "And how are you?" And then they answer "fine" or "good" except I'm not even sure because we already passed each other five minutes ago.
Why do we say that? We don't actually care how the other person is feeling. If we did, we'd stop walking.
The other day, I did the whole exchange with someone in the hall, and they responded to me, "Uh, not that great." And I was like, shit. I have to be at a meeting in about thirty seconds and I don't have time to delve into this further, although I wish I could. But if I don't care about the answer, then why ask?
I propose that we stop the automatic asking "how are you" unless you actually care and want to hear how the other person is.