This is frequently me unfortunately. It's something that I am working on and I think the first step is leaving my phone turned off.
Omid Safi has written a good article in which he explains that in many Muslim cultures it is asked, "How is your haal?" He explains that, "Haal is the transient state of one’s heart. In reality, we ask, “How is your heart doing at this very moment, at this breath?” When I ask, “How are you?” that is really what I want to know."
Perhaps we are a culture that is getting so busy with beeping iphones, information overload and everyone trying to keep up with everyone else that we don't even know the answer to this question.
Or we fear knowing.
Perhaps people have the need to brag about how busy they are. Perhaps it's the 21st century form of "keeping up with the Jones".
I like to hear about people's haal because it is usually honest and of substance.
Unless they are perpetual complainers or have verbal diarrhea, of course.
As Omid says, "Tell me something about your heart and awaken my heart."
I think amidst my "to-do list" this is what I am yearning for the very most. Simply connecting with people on a deeper level.
to be happy
with a calm life.