How to Respond to “How Are You?”

Everybody gets asked “How are you?” many times a day, but how do you respond? I talk to lots of folks who hate that we give each other the obligatory, “I’m fine. How are you?” They feel it is meaningless pleasantry and yearn for something more. But what does that look like? Does that mean we give people the unvarnished truth no matter what? Does it mean we allow ourselves to be a dark shadow when we are feeling down? Or does it mean that we stay positive and upbeat, in other words lie, to keep things light and easy?

Blending Authenticity and Kindness

Most of the time blending authenticity and kindness works. If you’re feeling low and want to keep it real without bringing things down, this is a good route to take. Or maybe you want to keep it real, but don’t really feel close enough to someone to share how you really feel. So, you choose something that is honest and light. Examples of those responses to “How are you” could be something like:

  • Some good, some bad.
  • Staying grounding.
  • Getting through.
  • It’s a “Deep Breath” day.
  • Feeling grateful to be alive.

These types of answers lets the other person know that things aren’t great without dumping on them.

Avoiding Connection While Staying Polite

Some people are nosey or not nice. It’s wise not to expose your vulnerable under belly to these people so they may hurt you. In these situations, it may be effective to answer with something that avoids connection while staying polite. Here are some suggestions on what to say to do that:

  • Happy to be getting out of here.
  • Wondering how you are doing.
  • How are you? (Turning it back on them).
  • I am present and accounted for.

Keep It Real

I actually love it when people feel comfortable enough to let me know how they truly are. It says, “I trust you.” This isn’t necessarily an obligation to chat about it. Either party can decline that at any time, so don’t be afraid to offer the truth to someone you trust or be afraid to hear it. Here are some examples of what to say:

  • Thanks for asking. It means a lot, but I am not in the mood to talk about that. Let’s talk about….
  • I could use some “me” time.
  • Let me get back to you on that.
  • Not great, not great at all.

Share the Love

Of course, when you’re feeling fabulous, you want to say that! Why keep all the love and light to yourself? Let it beam out into the universe. Here are some examples of how to convey that:

  • I’m fabulous!
  • Happy to see you!
  • Ready to take on the day.
  • I couldn’t be better.

Loneliness and disconnection are rampant. We all have opportunities every day to connect and share our authentic selves. Changing the way we greet each other is an easy way to make a small change in safe way that can have a big impact. Try it and let me know what you think.

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