Wednesday, March 31, 2010

How Are You?

Hi!  How are you?

Good, you?


This exchange is probably the most frequent dialog spoken in the world.  Everyone knows it is polite even though no one really cares, or has time to care, how you really are.  Maybe you would care if you had time to sit down and catch up with this acquaintance, but you don't.  You both go your own ways.

With friends I like to switch it up sometimes and answer "Shitty, you?"  That usually causes them to hesitate for a second because it was unexpected - although you may know that I am shitty, you don't actually expect me to say it in such a casual exchange.

This makes me think about when you are given a glass of clear liquid that you think is water.  You take one sip and nearly spit it out because it is disgusting!  It is actually Sprite.  You don't dislike Sprite.  Actually you are rather fond of the carbonated beverage, but it was unexpected so it throws you off.

Anyways... onto my point.

I used to answer "Wonderful!" every time.  I thought it was funny.  At first.  I usually got a "Wow" as an answer.  Occasionally the person was compelled enough to stop and ask why I was so wonderful.  This was the hard part.  I had three options:  I had to think of something good that had happened recently, make up something good, or confess my deception - which was embarrassing at best.

I was waitressing at the time, so I had many many opportunities to use my patent reply.  I think sometimes it was nice.  It was like some sort of mantra, making myself believe that I was, indeed, wonderful.

Until one day.

It was a bad day/week/month and things were on the continual down slide.  I was not, by any stretch of the imagination, wonderful.  I was sick of putting up a front.  I was done pretending I was happy.  I couldn't friggin do it any more.  I stopped saying I was wonderful.  I went back to more socially acceptable responses such as 'good' 'fine' 'okay'.

I have only said it a handful of times since then - Ryder's birth, when the divorce was finalized, when I was trashed.

I think I learned a lot from my little experiment.  I learned about social norms and how others react when faced with the abnormal.  I learned about myself.  I learned it was so much easier to just say 'good.'


  1. Agreed. Most of the time when I ask I could care less...

  2. I always answer the truth,m if Im good I say so, if not I say so...people have gotten where they have stopped

  3. Seems a waste of time really, doesn't it!. And yet the wheels of civility need greasing. I have a similar gripe about Christmas cards. Why would someone you haven't seen in ten years care less and vice versa? And yet, there's some pull towards not losing contact with people you were once close to and would still be if circumstances hadn't intervened. Bah! I have no answer! Thanks for making me think.

  4. I actually do care how someone is when I ask and I always tell them how I really am when they ask. Sometimes they don't like the answer but I try to be honest. I don't know...I'm just like that :) I used to work with a guy who'd always answer how are you? with "partly cloudy with a chance of rain" lol

  5. When asked how are you, I usually like to answer "Well I'm finally able to sit up and take nourishment".

  6. Raine, my darling. When I ask "how are you", I want you to know that I ALWAYS want to know how you actually are. :)

  7. I usually answer, "Just peachy!!" :)

  8. this is a great post. usually, when I ask someone how they are doing, i always prepare myself for the possibility that they might reply, "not good." whenever i'm asked the question, i always reply, "good." old habits die hard. :)

  9. I think wonderful is a good thing to say. Honestly, if we aren't knocking on deaths door aren't we sort of wonderful? Norms are a fascinating thing to study. I am going to say wonderful tomorrow and see how people react!


Whatcha think?