When we ask “how are you?”, let’s sit down and take in the full answer.
I am fine, I wish I had more time to dedicate to this project.
I am alright, unfortunately I was not accepted for that online programme.
I am well, thanks, there has been a bit of a misunderstanding with my colleague, but I am well nonetheless.
We often rush to labelling our exchanges as “all good”, and we fail to grasp the issues we might want to act upon. And then we are surprised when the minor crack turns out to be a foundation problem. We withdraw – they said they were fine, how could they lie to us? – and we make the whole situation irreparable.
Forget the first part of the answer, hand in there until the honest reality kicks in, and tackle that head-on.
How could you make more time for the project?
How can I support you in your learning and development?
What happened, and what can I do to facilitate a conversation between you too?
That’s the way to be taken seriously, to build a relationship, and to maintain the people around you engaged and motivated.