“How are you?” is a loaded question. Or not.
One of our most meaningful questions?
We greet the grief-stricken with it.
We use it as a way to communicate: “It’s been so long, I’m so happy to see you!”
Or one of our most meaningless questions?
We use it rhetorically as a de minimis way to acknowledge someone.
When it is not rhetorical, it can mean anything from “How are you in a vague and general sense? Are you good or bad generally speaking?” to “What is your greatest and most personal life crisis at this very moment?”
The question’s context is way more important than the words themselves.