Urban Etiquette: Just say Fine!
Recently I asked friend “How are you?” and what I got back was more than an earful. He told me about his ex wife, his health, his job and even updated me on his neighbors. As he went on and on, I stood there silently thinking – WTF, everyone knows you’re suppose to just say “FINE!”
Let’s be real, asking “how are you” is often used as a salutation — most people don’t really want to hear about your dog, children or health in a two minute conversation. So, think about this, before you respond.
- The best answer to “How are you?” is “Fine, thank you, and you?”
- If you move beyond the standard answer, be positive, most people aren’t expecting to hear a laundry list of problems.
- Unless your doctor is asking, health issues are off limits to discuss in response to a greeting.
- In social situations, a brief sentence or two about family is okay if they asked “how’s the family” otherwise, they probably don’t want to hear about them either. And definitely avoid the prolonged conversations about the kids during an interview.
However you choose to respond, “how are you” is an extended greeting, not to be confused with a conversation. Keep it light, happy and brief because most people don’t really want the detail.