Unlearning small talk
At some point in the middle of 2015, after working in an office building with long corridors for a while, I found myself dreading the inevitable (and ephemeral) ten-second exchanges taking place in passing. I see someone and my reflexes kick in not wanting to be rude and instinctively say, "how are you?" The answer is pretty predictable. "Good" or "Great! How about you?!" But we've all been asked a variant of that question and answered "good" when we were in fact having a not so great or terrible day. Did the person asking the question really want to know how I was feeling? Probably not. If they did, we would have stopped and chatted instead.
So on some random day, I decided to stop asking, "how are you?" as a reflex and just say "nice to see you." Because that part is honest. I'm fortunate to work in a building many intriguing and nice people. But my general rule of thumb has become: attempt to avoid asking small talk questions in a disingenuous way.
But if you want to have a real conversation.... I'm totally in :)
Go Forth Boldly