Reframing your opening question might be a practical approach to show that you are interested and willing to have a conversation rather than just exchanging pleasantries.
We have all been part of the fast-paced exchange of greetings at the office. They start with hellos, move to a “How are you?,” transition with a “Fine, and you?” and end with a “Doing great.” It is a conversation repeated countless times with no benefit other than both parties acknowledging each other. The same conversation happens regularly at home. “How was your day?” gets asked to spouses about work and to kids about school, and the interaction frequently works just like the office. The list of one-word answers ranges from “fine” to “great” to “ugh,” and the dialog stops. We ask (or get asked) these questions so often they do not even register as anything other than a regular greeting. The rhythm of the question and the expected answer is understood by both parties, platitudes are exchanged, and there is no additional dialog. They become a verbose “Hi” or “Welcome Home” with no real intent of connection. At times, that casualness is proper for the setting. Sometimes just the greeting and acknowledgement of each other is all that is needed. If the intent, however, is to make connections and show a sincere interest in the other person, consider reframing the questions. Inquiries like “What is going well?” or “What was the best part of your day?” not only skip the needle across the record of routine greetings, but they also steer replies away from one-word thoughtless answers to start an actual conversation. If you are looking for simple ways to show an interest in supporting connections with others, reframing your opening question might be a practical approach by showing that you are interested and willing to have a conversation rather than just exchanging pleasantries.