Responding to "How are you?"

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love_comes_softly

Well-known member
Feb 13, 2019
680
738
93
#1
I had a random thought tonight, while walking through the store. Someone that knew me (I have no idea who it was) asked me how I was doing. I answered the way that I always do, "good, thanks and you?"

It's pretty rare that I respond any other way, even when that's not how I actually feel. I started to wonder why I do that. I know that's a very typical response that people give, so my question or questions for you all are:

Are you honest when people ask how you are doing? Does it depend on who the person asking is?

If you have a standard response like mine, why is that? Do you feel like it's an expected response?

Do you consider it a lie, to respond with an automatic response?
 

Pipp

Majestic Llamacorn
Sep 17, 2013
4,876
1,898
113
#2
I do usually answer with 'fine thanks, you ?'

Alot of times I mean it, but sometimes I just don't want to pour out my thoughts/issues on strangers. I feel like its only asked as a pleasantry most of the time anyways.

You know... I've never even thought about it being sin. If it is.... man... I'm gonna have a ton to give account of before God on top of your normal everyday deeds.
 

17Bees

Senior Member
Oct 14, 2016
1,106
657
113
#3
I had a random thought tonight, while walking through the store. Someone that knew me (I have no idea who it was) asked me how I was doing. I answered the way that I always do, "good, thanks and you?"

It's pretty rare that I respond any other way, even when that's not how I actually feel. I started to wonder why I do that. I know that's a very typical response that people give, so my question or questions for you all are:

Are you honest when people ask how you are doing? Does it depend on who the person asking is?

If you have a standard response like mine, why is that? Do you feel like it's an expected response?

Do you consider it a lie, to respond with an automatic response?
Lovecomessoftly had a random thought?!! How odd! (just kiddin') What an enigma! (can't help myself). To answer, when a person you don't know asks how you're doing, they don't really want to know. So it's ok to lie. I mean, what are you going to say? "Thanks for asking, do you have a few minutes? It all started when I was a 15 and....." No. You just say fine. Good. Better than I deserve. Fair to middlin. I often say "getting by". That one covers a world of hurt.
 

love_comes_softly

Well-known member
Feb 13, 2019
680
738
93
#4
I do usually answer with 'fine thanks, you ?'

Alot of times I mean it, but sometimes I just don't want to pour out my thoughts/issues on strangers. I feel like its only asked as a pleasantry most of the time anyways.

You know... I've never even thought about it being sin. If it is.... man... I'm gonna have a ton to give account of before God on top of your normal everyday deeds.
That's exactly what I was thinking. What about with people you do know, those you work with, family members, friends, neighbors? I typically still have the same response.

I'm right there with you, if it is a lie. :)
 

love_comes_softly

Well-known member
Feb 13, 2019
680
738
93
#5
Lovecomessoftly had a random thought?!! How odd! (just kiddin') What an enigma! (can't help myself). To answer, when a person you don't know asks how you're doing, they don't really want to know. So it's ok to lie. I mean, what are you going to say? "Thanks for asking, do you have a few minutes? It all started when I was a 15 and....." No. You just say fine. Good. Better than I deserve. Fair to middlin. I often say "getting by". That one covers a world of hurt.

Thanks for making me laugh. :) IF I think about myself asking people I know and even asking strangers how they are doing, I actually do care and intend on listening.

When I hear "getting by", I naturally want to know more. :) Like is something wrong, what's bothering you?
 

Pipp

Majestic Llamacorn
Sep 17, 2013
4,876
1,898
113
#6
That's exactly what I was thinking. What about with people you do know, those you work with, family members, friends, neighbors? I typically still have the same response.

I'm right there with you, if it is a lie. :)
Im a bit more open with people i personally know, especially if I know they care.
 
H

Hamarr

Guest
#7
I think it usually depends on the context and how well I know the person. If I am passing someone in the hall, there’s barely enough time for us both to get our “fine, you?” responses in. I’ve been trying to engage with people more, so I might try to turn it into a conversation if I am at the microwave during lunch or someone stops by my desk.

With friends, I usually open up and ask them more sincerely. I might go to the other extreme and overshare.
 

Lanolin

Well-known member
Dec 15, 2018
12,233
4,400
113
#8
Its a pleasantry/greeting and an opener.
In chinese people ask have you eaten? Which is pretty much the same as 'how are you?'.

Why do people ask that well for one thing they just want to check you are alive. If you answer with the required response 'im fine thanks and you' or 'not bad, yourself' or 'im good' then you can start talking about other things.

Its up to you to think of how to respond to pleasantries. Usually people CAN actually tell if you are lying surprise surprise. If things arent going well then just be honest say something like 'same old same old' or 'im still grieving the loss of....' and if you dont answer the asker will know probably able to tell by your frown or tears streaming down you face and that you need a hug.
 

Lanolin

Well-known member
Dec 15, 2018
12,233
4,400
113
#9
How are you? is a bit different from 'how are you feeling' which is a bit nosier. Only psychiatrists will ask that. Dont answer them cos your feelings arent really any of their business unless you paying them.

If you are good well its only cos God is good, and the response to that is...all the time, God is good. Rarely will people say 'no God is bad' today. Unless something like an earthquake happens or. Upon asking the heavens open and you hear thunder and lightening....
 

CharliRenee

Member
Staff member
Nov 4, 2014
6,210
6,784
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#10
If I am happy, I say fine, all chipper and stuff.
If I am tired, I say that I'm fine, just tired.
If I am not up to socializing, I'll say fine and then look away, walk away, or look down. What ever works to discourage further discourse.
If I am having an ugh moment, I say ugh... right now, but all in all, fine.

I'll say thank you for asking and I'll either return the question or simply say in passing, I hope you are well and God Bless.

I like strangers, most of them give what you give. This is true of family and friends too. Not always, of course.

I think we can be clear in our body language and tones, without having to say much at all. We can be sincere, to the point, and kind. There is only so much time in a day, right? Imagine what it would be like if with everyone we ran into, we had a 30 minute conversation, holy moly...we'd all be visiting 24/7
 

Mii

Well-known member
Mar 23, 2019
1,686
1,128
113
#11
Well delivering pizzas I have had to learn to be succinct in that role.

Usually I don't say good...what does that even mean?


Mostly I say tired, or if I am not tired...reasonable. I even said I was a bit "harried, so I apologize" and I don't typically use words that are somewhat obscure. Indeed I was though lol.


This question did come up a month or so on a sunday morning when I was NOT feeling too nice (emotionally/spiritually) and I was going to church and was formulating what response to give when someone asked me.

Sometimes I give a solid 3-5 sec pause..."could be better" or "eh" sometimes "not sure".

I don't appreciate pleasantries at church.

That particular sunday I did have a nice conversation with someone (Thank God) about what was troubling me. Turns out the same things were them, and while I rarely talk to this person it was encouraging to share for a bit and hear an echo. Always great to know I'm not alone with how I feel, even if it is frustrating.




What about "have a good day?" What does that even mean?
 

Lynx

Folksy yet erudite
Aug 13, 2014
17,979
4,778
113
#12
Random thoughts that happen to be on topic:

I have noticed this "How ya doing?" / "Fine, you?" has become a reflex, to the point people give the reply to a simple greeting. "Howdy." "Doing good, yourself?" Uh... I didn't ask how you're doing. :p With people I don't know well I just don't answer, and they never even notice. With people I do know well I mention that they reflexively answered a question I didn't ask, and they stop and say, "Huh... I didn't even notice."

I do have a stock answer to the question. "How ya doing?" / "Crazy, thanks. I seem to be the happy kind though, so I'm having fun with it." It usually makes people grin, but more important it makes them stop and think because it's a response they are not expecting. Wakes up those ole brain cells.

And of course the obligatory xkcd:


All I got left on the topic is a Dilbert comic.
https://dilbert.com/strip/1994-01-10