How To Answer, “How are you?”

As I approached a cashier at the checkout counter today, she greeted me with a smile and asked, “How are you?”  I responded by saying, “I’m fine, thank you. How are you?”  I expected to hear the usual, “Fine, thanks.”

But, the cashier began telling me how tired she was because she worked a double, didn’t get any sleep, feels as though she lives at the store, trying to get ready for vacation but doesn’t have time because she’s been working so many hours to be able to take vacation, can’t wait to get to Virginia so she can sleep the entire vacation, and on, and on, and on….

At first, I was a little annoyed and overwhelmed with too much information.  But then I realized, I did ask.  At least she felt comfortable speaking with me.  I do like to give the impression of being approachable.

If we really don’t want to know how someone is doing, we shouldn’t ask.  A simple greeting such as “Hello”, “Good morning”, or “Good to see you”, would be most appropriate.

Unfortunately, our society uses, “How are you?” very casually and with no real interest in knowing how an individual is doing.

With that said, the next time you are greeted with, “How are you?”, without a sincere interest to support it, simply respond with,  “Fine, thank you”, or “I’m doing well.  Thank you for asking”.

This entry was posted in Etiquette Tips, Public Courtesies, Social Etiquette. Bookmark the permalink.

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