I had a friend in New York that would always ask "What's new and exciting?" every time I saw him. It used to drive me crazy, because most of the time the answer was "Nothing". Or it felt like nothing to me. If I knew I was going to see him, I'd try to think of something to say to make my life sound interesting. If I couldn't think of anything, then I'd avoid him.
I don't think he had any idea how potentially demoralizing the question could be.