Checking for others’ motives is a futile exercise, whose only purpose is to strengthen our internal narratives.
If I believe my work is not good enough, then the person asking how it is going is doing that only to mock me and enjoy my failure.
If I am not worth of the love of anybody, then the one checking on me is doing that only because they need something in return.
If I know I deserve that promotion, then the colleague who is silent about the process only wants to see my career end.
And on top of that, of couse motives are rarely absolute and unique. We ourselves often do things for a variety of reasons, some noble some less.
Helping those less lucky can be done out of compassion and because it gives us purpose.
We might ask how things are because we are genuinely interested in the other person and prefer to have chat rather than be left alone with our thoughts.
The tree we have planted in our garden is a great way to add to the green of the neighborhood and in its shadow we can relax in the hotter summer days.
Motives do not proceed in a straight line, and if we really want to find out about them, the best we can do is ask.