HI, How are you? Do you really want to know? Then why do you ask?

@coffeebreak (17820)
United States
May 17, 2008 3:34pm CST
The common greeting is "Hello, how are you?". What really annoys me is that does anyone really care how you are, or are they just connecting words. I mean, if you are asked that by a close friend, okay, could be legit...but say a greeter at church, or a clerk at a store or just anyone that has reason to say "hi" in the first place...it is always followed by "how are you". A phone caller - says it. Does this person really care how you are or just using a "politicaly correct" chunk of words? I got really sick of it few years ago and thought, I'm just going to see what happens. And when someone says to me "hi, how are you".....I tell them! If I am depressed, aggrivated, annoyed, sick, disgusted.. I tell them. Granted therea re a few times I am happier than all that and also tell them that too, but I fgiure if they are asking, why is it so wrong or unsociable for me to answer their question honestly? If they didn't care, why are they asking? And if they do care, they won't mind my honesty. How do you feel about that? I have been doing it for some time and the reactions I get from people, when I tell them how I am...gotta admit, it often perks me up in a down frame of mind, and makes me smile at their silly looks on their faces when they got the answer they weren't expecting! WOuld it bother me if the table was turned? No, I asked, shouldn't be a problem to hear the answer. however, I don't ask in certain times - I just dont want to know, whether it is I dont' care or don't have time to listen or just don't know the person enough to waste my time on something so useless. Do you care if someone tells you the truth when you say "Hi, how are you?"
12 responses
@Elixiress (3893)
18 May 08
I usually just say "Hi" to people other than on the internet as it can lead to a conversation asking how someone is. Other than that I only ask people how they are if I think that they look down or it is someone I really care about like my boyfriend. If people ask me if I am okay then I am honest about it, I say "fine" if I am fine, "down" is I am down etc.
1 person likes this
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
18 May 08
If you know the person, then no problem in asking or responding. I just get annoyed at strangers or clerks or something like that when they ask. I know they don't care, I know they are only using it as an opening comment. It just annoys me. And I figure if they are asking, why shouldn't I answer them...honestly? I wouldn't appreciate being lied to, so I don't lie either!
@Elixiress (3893)
19 May 08
In some cases it is part of their job, some people are trained to say "Hi, how are you? How may I help you?" and if they don't say it then they are in trouble, so sometimes you can't really blame them, it isn't as though they are causing harm. I hate it when people I know don't like me say it though.
1 person likes this
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
20 May 08
How can I help you? is fine for them to say. That is why they are there. But then again, I couldsay to them "well, you could help me by paying my utility bill cause I can't cover it this month" LOL!!!! They asked how they could help me!!!! I'll do this just to get reaction and for a laugh and an ice breaker!
• Australia
18 May 08
This is so true. It IS just a socially acceptable thing that we say out of habit. The same as we say 'I'm fine' when people ask it. It doesn't have to be true, our whole life could be falling down around our ears and we would still say 'I'm fine' I work in customer service and I HAVE to say to each customer 'Hi, how are you today?' because it's part of the customer service code (You may not have realised that but it's true... those who do not ask are not meeting customer service expectations). When I get someone who hesitates or sounds a bit down when they answer I tend to smile and say something like 'That's not very convincing!' because I want them to know that I am genuinely interested. Same as the expression, 'no point complaining, nobody listens!' I just say that nobody wants to know. It does tend to be a little surprising when people answer honestly though. We're so used to hearing the stock standard answer that it can be a little shocking to not receive it.
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
18 May 08
For customer service, I can see it is at least a "ice breaker" kind of comment. You don't care how they are but since they are probably calling with a complaint, your asking that kind of softens the start of the conversation and throws the complainer off track enough that maybe they will calm down before starting their complaint! Okay, good strategy! I always said the "'no point complaining, nobody listens" too, but good theory that they just don't want to know!
• Australia
19 May 08
Well, I work much more 'up close and personal'. I'm a checkout operator so I'm dealing with customers face to face rather than over the phone. Thankfully, very few of them are complaining in my situation. I am constantly conscious of trying to take a personal interest in my customers. But then, that is unusual, most of my cohorts just go through the motions. As I said originally, if a customer says 'I'm fine' then I'll make a comment. If it's a regular of mine I may even be bold enough to ask what's wrong.
1 person likes this
@maclanis (1868)
• Belgium
18 May 08
I think asking "how are you" is polite but sometimes a bit unnecessary. I wouldn't sa I'm actually annoyed by it but sometimes you can really notice that people don't care. For example when they don't even wait for the answer. That, I really hate and do not understand. Why would one ask that and not even wait for the answer?
1 person likes this
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
19 May 08
Cause it means nothing to them. Why not say something like "Hi, by the way I love your shoes!" or "Hello, don't ya just love this weather?". Something that the person can not only repsond to and "break the ice" but something they might actually care about of have something to say about.
@manya_pearl (1905)
• Singapore
18 May 08
Hi coffee break, how are you? For me, saying "hi, how are you?" is just to make sure that you respect people around you and you know that they are around.... although you're not 100% care and curious how they are doing. are they really doing well or not? People sometimes busy with their business and seemed has no time to look around just only for a while face the officemates, classmates, etc. I dont care they say that from their hearts or not... sometimes i even do it. hehehe. But I just wanna greet them as the way i respect people who around me. I dont wanna treat them as a thing, but "person"... that you can talk to, that you may relate to. say those sentence even only with simple smile is effective also for me to communicate with them. Just doing business transaction, you will not say... "hi sir, lets do business" but you probably greet them first. Its like an introduction to start something good. Just like a book, without introduction, its incomplete.
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
18 May 08
I guess it could be called a common intro - I usually go up to people like sales clerks and say "hi...." and tell them what I want or why I am there. That way I don't have to waste my time with the unnecessary commentary from someone that doesn't care in the first place! I'm a straight forward blunt person, tell me it is black or white, but don't bother telling me it is grey!
@loolets2 (106)
• United States
18 May 08
I usually ask sincerely how they are or I just say Hi. I'm not much of a talker anyway so usually I just say "hey what's up" or "hey what are you doing today" because I might want to do something with that person later that day. I never really say "hi how are you?" hehe
1 person likes this
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
18 May 08
Well, you are making them commit to talking to you ....if they don't want to..then you are off the hook, but remained polite! Good for you! I don't have a problem with it all if it is a friend or family or acquaintance but just a stranger or clerk or sales person type...just ring up my purchase and make sure you charge me the correct price so I can be on my way!
@chiyosan (30205)
• Philippines
18 May 08
if they are my close friends, i would know if they are telling me the truth about how they really are. of course, if they say they are fine but looks the opposite i will not stop until i hear it from them... i want to be able to help my friend, to be there for him/her so i will ask and will make sure they understand that i truly am willing to listen.
1 person likes this
@drannhh (15241)
• United States
18 May 08
I want them to tell the truth if the truth is comfortable to share, but not necessarily at length, if you know what I mean. It is used a little like the phrase "nice weather isn't it" which can be annoying, too, except that sometimes the weather really is so nice that if makes sense to comment on it. Like today, for example. It was beautiful out!
1 person likes this
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
18 May 08
I don't have a problem with "nice day" or something like that - if it is raining and they say "what a horrible day" I'll come back with "Oh, I love rainy days! THis is great!". You both have the weather in common and can comment on it. Even if it is something about a news issue and they say "oh, did you hear about...". Again, something in common. But for a total stranger to say "Hi, how are you" , they don't care how you are. So why are they asking? Is it going to matter or make a difference if you are one way or another? Just something that annoys me to no end!!!
@skinnychick (6907)
• United States
17 May 08
I would care if it was a friend and they were lying to me about their situation. I always like to think that they would be truthful and I could help them in some way. But I really don't think the check out girl at Walmart gives a crap how I am. So I take that oppourtunity to give them some backwards answer and most of the time after the shock, they probably regret ever saying it to me. LOL
1 person likes this
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
17 May 08
That's how I am. A friend, okay, but others, just don't se the point.
@ladym33 (11007)
• United States
17 May 08
Like you say if I ask then I have am obligated to hear what ever answer I get. I usually just stick with Hi, or Hello. If someone asks me how I am I will usually give a quick answer, fine, tired, whatever and then throw it back on them, and respond with, "How are you?" Right back.
1 person likes this
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
18 May 08
Yeah, if you ask the question you have to accept what is answered. THat is why I don't say it to strangers! And I have to admit, I don't care how they are - I mean not to be rude, but what difference does it make to me or them or the situation how they are or how I am? (doctors excluded!) THey are soliciting or just walking around or something like that so that how I am, is of no concern to them or they are just trying to be nice and break the ice to their sales pitch! It just annoys me.
@5mayday (1054)
• Norway
17 May 08
I do care about that person when I ask "how are you" and maybe that person says something that's really depressed, and I will listen to it till they want to stop or want to talk about other things. I will follow their topics and wont ask too much about their problems, and I notice that some of them expect me to ask more about them then just telling me their problem... I kind of regret that I did not ask them more, dont think I can help them with anything at all but if they tell me that means they feel better to tell someone about it ^^
1 person likes this
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
18 May 08
A friend or family member, yeah of course it is helpful to talk, but I'm talking about sales clerks, solicitors, strangers you don't even know. You know they don't care how you are. I'm not trying to be rude to anyone, and if a sales clerk asks at the check out, I'll say "fine" just to my purchase completed quickly. I don't want to stand there and talk. But it just annoys me so much that I just have to answer the question honestly. At least I know the "conversation" won't last long as they don't want to hear it!
@ersmommy1 (12600)
• United States
20 May 08
It is a common greeting. For some I think it just may be habit. I am not sure most people even expect a real answer to the question. It may be a real shocker for a few, if people decided to answer,"Well my day is really awful" and then proceed to tell you why. That is why I think the standard answer becomes "fine" so people can move on.
@doctorul (1063)
• Romania
17 May 08
No!