“How are you?” — Should we stop asking this question?

How am I? I don’t know. Are you asking me how am I doing right at this second? Or are you asking me what has been my dominant emotion within a certain time frame? Or are you just asking me for the sake of being polite or making small talk?

I never know how to answer all the various “How are you?”s I get. If I am doing good (whatever that means), I am not sure if I should say that because what if the questioner is not doing so great. If I am not doing good then again, I am not sure if I should say that because what if the questioner doesn’t care. Therefore, I settle on “okay” — because it is okay to be just “okay”. People dont have to feel envious about me being better than them and they don’t have to feel pressured to ask why am I not “good”.

Can we just stop asking this question and start using more specific phrases. Maybe if we actually want to know if the other person is happy, we can just ask “Are you happy today?” or “Have you been happy lately?” Or if we want to just start a conversation or make small talk, we can just ask “Have you come across anything interesting lately?”

What do you think? Do you have any ideas for potential opening phrases?