Until not so very long ago the usual form on meeting a friend, neighbour or acquaintance would be to greet him/her with an enthusiastic grin and firm handshake with a conversation that would open with,
“How are you, you’re looking well!”
”Oh fine….. Thank you; never better,” or some similar acknowledgement of one’s collective good fortune. Now though, with the dark clouds of recession and retrenchment upon us, one dare not sound too upbeat; it marks you either as a shameful liar or even worse……. An insensitive and boasting bore.