Daily Archives: October 30, 2013

The Question “How Are You?”

I think probably anyone with mood swings or depression or who has had a particularly crappy day can relate to this, one of my biggest pet peeves.

In today’s culture a very common greeting begins with, “hi, how are you?

The thing I find disturbing about this is that most of the time people say it, they don’t actually want to know how you are doing or feeling.

The most acceptable answers to this greeting are something along the lines of “good,” or “fine” or “great” whether one feels great or not. Answering with anything else (miserable, stressed, anxious, depressed) often leads to a very confused greeter.

For anyone who has answered truthfully to the question of “how are you?” and received that blank, icy stare in return… it can be easy to fall into a pattern of always answering “good” or “fine” whether they’re feeling it or not.

Personally, I think it would be a lot easier for people to share how they’re feeling (and if they’re not doing alright) if there were less trick questions like this one. 

The solution?

Let’s stop asking people how they’re doing unless we’re prepared to listen to whatever (honest) answer comes next. Maybe retail employees and acquaintances and distant co-workers should stick to greetings like, “what’s up?” or “good to see you,” or “did you watch the Walking Dead last night?”