About the "How are you?" question

What do you think about the "How are you?" question?

I, personally, do not like this question and I have never liked it.

I do not know what to answer.

Also, a lot of the time, I think it is expected just to give a positive answer, but I often feel awful to say "Fine!" simply to be polite if I am not fine. 


  • What do you think about the "How are you?" question?

    I, personally, do not like this question and I have never liked it.

    I do not know what to answer.


    Sometimes I say my parents met and either the rest is history, or so here I am, as often as possible, or with enough detail to deter further enquires of that nature.

    And when people ask me if I am 'all-right' ~ I say I am half left but more in-between, or if not I would topple over! ;-)

    Another deterrent for most is that I say I am one sixth right, left, up, down, front and back or even in sevenths and eighths I am the the centre-point. 


  • It is pointless to either ask or answer the question, because no meaningful information is transferred. In parts of America, the way that someone usually responds to "how are you?" is to say "how are you" back, and neither party gets an answer at all, even a meaningless one. It's just a greeting like "hello" or "hey".


  • It is pointless to either ask or answer the question, because no meaningful information is transferred.

    Not quite pointless, being that the tonal qualities of the answer serve as an indicator as to whether the answer is actually the case, and if not it allows people to gauge if they and the other person want to further address the underlying issue.


    In parts of America, the way that someone usually responds to "how are you?" is to say "how are you" back, and neither party gets an answer at all, even a meaningless one. It's just a greeting like "hello" or "hey".

    Where I am in the UK, in the same sense as the USA, I have found that saying in the phonetic sense "Hull-low" quite useful ~ as it is a neutral statement that is likewise responded to without further complications in having to converse.

    I say "Hull-low" from the basis of a ship having a full bounty, or payload, as gives the expression a more positive emotional effect. It serves as such then also as a well wishing statement :-)


  • It sounds really strange to me now. It is not asked in the country I now live in and work now. The question here is not treated like smsll-tal question here. You may end up with more information than you might have desired about the health of the person you asked. 

    ''What's new' is used more often and it seems to work better. 


  • It sounds really strange to me now. It is not asked in the country I now live in and work now. The question here is not treated like smsll-tal question here. You may end up with more information than you might have desired about the health of the person you asked. 

    That actually sounds sort of appealing, as I mean what I say, or ask, and prefer to get actual answers rather than hearing people saying things that have little or no relevance to people, or things.

    The problem of course, with a greater information exchange capacity, is that am still after nearly five decades having problems with providing too much information. I am not sure then if things would balance out as such, or if I would get too comfortable and leave yet more people in over-informed catatonic states.

    One of my most favourite jokes about me, is that "When Deepthought has finished speaking ~ there are only skeletons and cobwebs left!" :-)


  • Most people around here, where I live, tend to say "What like?" but neither version expects an actual answer beyond "Fine, and you?" or similar. I don't mind that too much, it's just boringly, predictably, useless small-talk. 

    What's more difficult, for me, is "How's the family?" where it's stiff and unnatural to say "Everyone's fine thanks, and yours?" because it's expected that I'll say a brief note about at least one or two of them and then ask after their family BY NAME!!! I can never remember people's names, I often don't even remember the name of the person who's asking let alone what family (wife? kids? ????) they actually have!! It's just painful and I try to avoid that one at all costs.    

  • Greetings to California... Making more Threads, which is good to see...!

    With regards to the main question, have a gander at this Thread, please, maybe...?

    http://community.autism.org.uk/f/adults-on-the-autistic-spectrum/10867/finding-it-difficult-to-express-myself/

    The "Throwback" is the thing, there (<> as DragonCat says, here.). It also covers the "Fine, Thank You" business as well. (I only posted once, maybe... and my own opinion has not changed since then.)

  • I do ask the question of people who are important enough to ask and I do answer the question with total honesty. If I have asked it it's because I want/ need to know the answer. And I assume that if you ask me it's because you want to know.

    I can't stand to be asked it of people who don't know me at all. That doesn't include people in here. The people in here who have asked it although they don't know me in real life do know a lot about me and the people I have asked in here is because I know there is something in their life or health to ask about.

  • For me, it's just a meaningless exchange.  Like mentioning the weather.  Purely phatic.  Even if my intonation in response might suggest the opposite of 'Fine', or - as I more usually say -  'Okay', it's almost as if the other person decides 'Uh-oh... don't take this any further.'  And so they don't.  Maybe that's because I rarely get beyond a phatic level of exchange with people.