Today, what if, when someone asked “How are you,?” you actually gave a real answer?

What if, instead of chirping a happy answer like “Great!” or “Awesome, how about you?” you were a little more honest than that?

“I’m having trouble paying my bills.”

“My kids are on my last nerve.”

“My relationship is feeling a little boring.”

“I’m still trying to figure out what my true purpose in life is.”

“I spend too much time on Facebook.”

“I’m worried I’m in way over my head in this thing.”

I’m not suggesting that you aren’t feeling great or awesome….you may very well be. What I am suggesting is that if you want your conversations to be anything resembling real, you are going to need to pony up on the vulnerable side.

That is because real conversations – like any real connections — start there, and only there, in that very real place.

They don’t start with an answer programmed into you a long time ago and from which you are afraid to stray.

They don’t start with pretending.

And sorry, but they don’t start with a bullshit story either.

The more I am honest about a bad day, a challenging situation, an unfair person – the more I connect on a very real level with people. And once you experience those kind of connections, the other ones (you know…the “Hi, how are you? “I’m great, how about you?”) will seem both tedious and utterly extraneous.

Did you know that those kind of exchanges take away energy from things that might actually have real meaning for you? They are fillers. Like popcorn packing in a box of valuables. They keep the important stuff from breathing, from having their own space.

What I have realized about myself is that I cannot do the fakeness or the surface stuff.

That isn’t me. In fact, it takes away from me.

And, I bet it isn’t you either.