how are you?

What is one question you hate to be asked? Explain.

I don’t know if “hate” is the best word for it. I tend to reserve that word for pretty extreme situations. I really don’t like being asked “how are you?” – most of the time. The reason is simple. Most people ask that question because it’s socially normative, not because they want to know the answer. Many times it’s asked in passing and people don’t wait around, or even intend to wait, for my answer.

On the other side of that coin, I also really enjoy it when people ask that same question because they care, they want to know the answer, and they will give the time to stick around and actually hear my answer.

I don’t like just saying “I’m fine” and moving on. I also don’t like risking vulnerability to be met with indifference or brushed off. There’s also times when I’m not self aware enough, in the moment, to give an honest answer to that question – but I don’t ever want to come off as insincere. So my first response when someone asks me how I’m doing is often to freeze, stutter, and stall while I try to gauge the asker’s real intention in asking.

The problem is I rarely know, in the moment, what someone’s intention is when they first ask the question. And then, it just gets awkward.

A close second would be “what do you do?”. I have SO many thoughts, objections, and possible directions for an answer to that seemingly simple question!

8 thoughts on “how are you?

  1. AuntDar

    It’s fair to say I hate “how are you” because people don’t really want to know. But for those friends who really ask and wait for the honest answer, it can be cathartic. Thanks for the post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. David Post author


      One of my favorite things to do when meeting someone is to just say “so tell me about yourself”, and then just wait.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Willow

    I’ve heard a lot of people say they hate that question, and logically I understand why they dislike the question — and other small talk questions like “How about this weather we’re having, right?” But it’s in my nature to make small talk because I have a need to fill the silence. So I would probably be one of those people you dislike because one of the first questions out of my mouth would be, “So, how you doing?” And I have been known to ask it in passing, but honestly even in passing, I’m interested to know how my friends are doing. So there’s that.

    Liked by 4 people


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