5 Minute Coffee break is a weekly column meant to inspire you to maintain a positive outlook on life to get you through the week. Check back every Wednesday at 7:00 am for your weekly pick-me-up (caffeine not included).
I am a firm believer of coffee as a morning ritual. I usually stop at a local Starbucks to grab a tall vanilla iced coffee to start my day. Occasionally, I’ll observe someone in such a rush, they don’t say “thank you,” and sometimes don’t even look at the person taking their order or preparing their morning coffee. Sometimes they are on their phone. Sometimes they just don’t seem to really care. Sometimes I just really want to yell, “BE. NICE.” I haven’t done that (yet).
Because I’ve been on both the receiving and giving ends of customer service for 7 years, I have come to appreciate the phrase “how are you?”. It always caught me off guard when someone would ask me how I was doing when I was serving them food or cleaning their clothes. Nothing made me happier than someone who took three seconds to ask such a simple question. It was just such a change of pace. The fact that someone I didn’t know cared enough about me to ask how I was made me strangely happy and humbled. It just always made me smile.
It still takes me by surprise when I ask someone how they are and they look at me like I am the first person to ask them that morning. Sometimes they smile and say they are doing well. Sometimes they kind of take a breath and say they are doing well, when in reality you can tell they aren’t. But you can always see the gratitude in their eyes just from asking those simple words.
“How are you” is the “I love you” for strangers. It encompasses all the emotions “I love you” does: compassion, understanding, support, empathy, and an emotional connection. Even if it’s for those ten seconds, that person will feel cared for. It’s that brief connection that says, “we’re all in this together.” What’s more reassuring than that? In three words, you can say “Good morning. I care about your day. I care about how you’re feeling.”