Mine Is the Deepest Hole

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Greetings in this part of Europe aren’t entirely positive yet, i.e. when asking “How are you,” one might hear “Ah, could be better” in response. Usually such a curt statement is followed by less telegraphic descriptions of the dire situation which caused our responder to suffer oh so greatly. At the same time, we feel contempt for “typically American” expressions like: “Very well, thank you” or “If I would feel any better, I’d probably fly away.” (I think I exaggerated with the last one a bit.) Why? People from post-socialist countries believe it’s downright falseness.

I recall Brian Tracy proving that honest (i.e. gloomy) replies had little sense in the first place.
In short, it is quite normal (and healthy), that the other person doesn’t give a damn about your problem or bad mood. If anything, he or she might feel uncomfortable with your sincerity or helplessness, or perhaps show you sympathy – out of politeness. Maybe it would be better to “provide a positive experience” instead? 

But there is another part of the story. And it doesn’t apply solely to greetings. While discussing problems in a group of people, we tend to overestimate the difficulties we had to overcome ourselves – as opposed to those of others. In a way, we try to outshout the rest of the group. We want to prove that “ours was the deepest hole.” Why?

It’s one of those occasions when we could practice self-restraint instead.