When I was younger, my parents and relatives would always tell me that when asked how I am, I'm to answer "I'm fine" rather than "Good". I suppose this makes sense, because good sounds like it's describing the person, not how they are feeling. Still, I always thought it was kinda dumb.
Many years later, I still think the same thing. Idly asking how somebody is (just because you're expected to) is so nasty. The reply does not matter - it is as if by asking at all, one shows that one cares. Well whoop de doo! How much effort does it take to mutter "How are you?" or "How's it going?" — not much. I believe an exchange of how-are-you i'm-good-and-you-fine-thanks is absolutely 100% pointless — unless you lead it into something else, and actually make a conversation.
Basically, what I really don't like is when I'm walking somewhere and I pass somebody and when I say "Hi" to be friendly, they have an auto-response of "Hi how are you?" The problem is, we've already passed each other. I now have to look like either deaf or mean (by not answering them) or I have to give a very sudden and rushed "I'm fine" while trying to turn around so they remain in earshot. This is foolish! Don't ask me a question if you don't have time for the answer! Also, don't make me feel selfish because I don't have time to pretend I care about how you are.
People need to break free from what we feel are social obligations. The next time you ask how somebody is, listen. If they say a simple one word answer (and they're somebody you're close with) ask for more. Say "How are you, really?" You never know — something interesting might actually be happening in their life. This whole rant kindof goes back to this post.
Also annoying is when girls pull the "I'm fine" or "Nothing's wrong" thing even when theres clearly something wrong — but that's another story.