A nice little post on the etiquette of ‘How are you?’ from both the asker and responder position, and the advice to have a Reader’s Digest version (or the cliché of the 30 second elevator talk). Quotes:
Here’s the dirty little secret: most of the time they are just being polite and don’t really want to know, at least not enough to hear the ENTIRE story.
Don’t feel bad, it’s not that they don’t care; it’s just that they have their own lives to worry about and don’t really want a long diatribe about what is happening. They want to know, but they don’t necessarily want to know all of the details…
When someone asks me, “How’s Chris doing?” I could go into all of that (and more) but a) it takes a lot of energy on my part and b) I don’t want to be a bore. So I say something like, “She’s taking a drug that makes her quite fatigued, but other than that she’s doing well. Thanks for asking!” and leave it at that. If they want to know more they will ask but if they don’t, everyone is satisfied with my answer.