Why do people even ask “How are you doing?” They don’t really want to know. They want you to say “I’m fine”. They want to then go on to the rest of the conversation.
They don’t really want you to say “Things are terrible” or “My foot hurts” or “My husband is driving me crazy.” They don’t want the truth.
So why ask?
It is a bit of a transition phrase. It is a demarcation point. It is a way of saying, “Hey, I need to have a conversation with you, and this is how we start.” It is seen as polite.
But is it really polite, when nobody cares what the answer really is? To not really care about someone you are talking with is not polite. Now, sure, you may not have the desire to know what is really going on with your waitress or the guy who changes the oil in your truck. So why ask?
We ask because that is what we do.
And every time we do it and don’t really want the truth, we become more and more un-human, and more and more like zombies. We aren’t being conscious or intentional about our lives or our speech.