On arrival in Australia, I was surprised by how nice the Aussies are. Wherever I’d go or whatever I’d do, the first question asked would always be:
How are you going?
New to Australia, I had plenty to arrange and organize… Bank account and Superfund, car insurance and roadside assist, my flight to Tassie (the Aussie name for the state of Tasmania, previously known as Van Diemen’s Land), Queen’s Day, and so much more. Upon calling any call centre, the employee who would answer would always start with
How are you today?
At first I didn’t know how to answer that question. I mean, I knew the answer, but I found it a waste of my precious time to answer it. I was ringing to get answers not to give them. This in turn took me back to when I was working for PayPal and our Dutch team often giggled at (or got annoyed with) the very American way the company works, even when located in Ireland. Dutchies don’t like to beat around the bush. We call because we want to get something resolved. Full stop.
How are things?
It is a question asked in passing, sometimes it is not even a question at all – even though it sounds like one. It is what they say, the Aussies. And even though few would actually expect an answer, it says a lot about the Australian mindset. They are a friendly kind, down under. I suppose it is a survival mechanism. After all, most Aussies came here with nothing, knowing no-one. Being nice has never hurt anyone.
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