Greetings play an essential part in our social and professional life. Depending on the setting you are in and who you are talking to, you need to know how to answer greetings properly. For instance, the question "How are you?" can be a conversation starter or a simple salutation, depending on the context. In this article, we discuss different ways to answer the question “How are you?” with tips and examples.
How to answer the question “How are you?”
The way you should answer the question “How are you?” depends on who is asking. If you are talking to acquaintances or strangers, your answer will be more formal than when speaking to family or friends.
Answer "How are you?" to acquaintances and strangers
Acquaintances are people you may have met a few times but don't know very well. For example, this could be someone you went to high school with or a friend of a friend. Strangers are the people you have never met before, like the receptionist at an office or the cashier at a supermarket. In both cases, it is essential to stay polite when you greet them. Therefore, the answer should be short. Here are some appropriate answers you could use when someone asks how you're doing:
Good: “Good” is the most common answer to the question “How are you?” It is polite and cheerful.
Well or very well: This answer is the most grammatically correct since the question "How are you?” should technically be answered with an adverb.
Great: “Great” is an enthusiastic response and a perfect introduction to a conversation if you wish to start one.
Fine: When you answer with the word “fine,” be sure to use a positive tone and smile. “Fine” could mean that you are not all right if you say it too slowly or with a frown.
All right: " All right" is generally more positive than “fine” but still neutral enough to use in a more formal situation. Here again, watch your intonation.
Not bad: Answering "not bad” is neutral or positive. It means that you are okay. Other alternatives include “not too bad” or “so so.”
Answer “How are you?” to friends or family members
When you greet close friends, siblings or parents, you can answer the question “How are you?” more honestly. You can tell them how you feel. Here are some informal answers to explain how you're doing:
Okay: “Okay” is a neutral answer like “all right” or “fine,” and it can mean that something is bothering you if you say it slowly with a lower voice. If so, your friend or family member might ask you a follow-up question like “Just okay?” to learn more about the way you feel.
Great: You can answer “great” when you are happy and in an especially good mood.
Excited: “Excited” is a very positive answer. You can use it when something great is about to happen. You can also explain to your relative or friend why you feel excited.
I've been better: You can say “I've been better” when something is wrong. It might invite your friend or relative to ask you, “What's wrong?”
Worried: Answering “worried” means you are concerned about an issue. You may not know how to fix a problem, or you might just be thinking about a situation a lot because you have no control.
Busy: Busy is a simple answer to tell your friends that you have many things to do.
Stressed out: You might feel stressed when you have too many things to do.
I'm hanging in there: You can answer like this if you are having a challenging day.
Tips for answering “How are you?”
Here are some tips to help you answer the question "How are you?" politely:
“How are you?” is a cultural greeting, so a smile is a perfect way to welcome the question in a positive and polite manner.
Watch your tone
It is best to use a high-pitched tone and answer quickly to give a positive answer. Some answers to the question can have a negative meaning when expressed in a lower voice or said with a sigh. So, to stay polite and formal, use a cheerful voice.
Respond and continue the conversation
After you answer the question “How are you?” it is polite to say thanks.
Then, you can ask the person how they are in return. Here are some example responses:
I'm fine, thanks. How about yourself?
Good, thanks. And you?
I'm good. And yourself?
Not bad. How are you?
I'm doing well, and you?
Good, how about you?
How to answer variations of "How are you?"
Here are some ways to answer variations of "How are you?":
This question is a shorter version of “What's happening in your life?” However, it is not necessary to give a long answer. Unless you want to start a long conversation, you can reply in one of these ways:
“Nothing much” is the most common answer.
“Not a lot” is a little less common than “nothing much.”
“Oh, just the usual” is something you could say if you are doing the same thing as any other day.
If you are willing to start a conversation, you can use the following answers:
“A lot!” If you are excited by all of the things happening lately in your life, you can use this answer. The other person might ask you for more details to get the conversation going.
You can also directly reply by explaining what recently happened. For example, you might say: "We won the contract!" or "Tom got married."
You can use the same answers for “What's up?" to answer questions like “What's going on?” or “What have you been up to?”
“How is it going?”
All answers that work for “How are you?” also work for this question. However, you could also say "It's going well," which is a polite and friendly answer that you can use with acquaintances, coworkers or clients.
“How have you been?”
This question asks how life has been for you from a specific point in time. For example, this could be since you last saw that person, sent a message or spoke on the phone. The greeting “How have you been?” is only used with people you already know and may mention the last time you talked to each other. For example, a family member might ask: “How have you been since last Christmas?”
You know that moment when you’re depressed or angry or going through a break up or some other stress-provoking situation and that someone asks you that most dreaded of all questions .
“How you are?”
And there you are, feeling awkward and thinking to yourself, “Well, how the hell do I answer that question?”
The honest answer to what seems like it should be a simple question is sometimes unclear because there are so many different ways you could answer, depending on what you feel you can handle at the moment, as well as on what you need most.
When you’re dealing with depression, anxiety, or even just a rough week, one of your primary goals should making sure that you’re doing and/or asking for what you need, rather than trying to please other people, whether they’re pushing because they want so badly for you to let them help or they’re really just being polite.
If someone asks you how you are, no matter who they are or why they are asking, your answer should reflect what you truly need in the moment.
Here are 4 suggestions of things to say when you’re depressed, anxious or generally down and someone asks, “How are you?”
1. “I’m fine.”
Just because someone asks how you are, that doesn’t mean you need to spill your guts to them. Feeling anything other than fine is not something that you have to share with someone you don’t feel comfortable sharing it with.
When I’m depressed and my mother calls and asks how I am, I always say I’m fine. I just don’t want to get into it with her. I know that having a conversation with my mother about my depression will be all about her trying to talk me out of it. And that is never helpful.
In other words, it’s okay to not always be honest about how you’re feeling.
It is important, however, that if you’re not going to be honest, you are then willing to ‘walk the walk’ of feeling fine for as long as you’re with that person. Telling my mother that I am fine and then sulking around the house is just a lose-lose situation for both of us.
2. “I’m really struggling.”
Should you choose to be honest about your feelings, I would suggest being as simple and straightforward as you can. Telling someone that you’re really struggling, with or without offering a reason why, might be all you need to say.
For many of us, just having someone acknowledge how we feel in the moment can help us alleviate our bad feelings.
I think this is especially the case with our men. I know that if my man asks me how I am and I admit to him that I am feeling sad and he acknowledges it (without trying to fix it), I always feel just a little bit better. I also know that if I tell him I’m fine when I’m not, everything gets way worse — fast.
So, even if you don’t feel like getting into it, telling someone you’re struggling might be just what you need in the moment.
3. “I’m really struggling, and this is why . “
Admitting that you’re struggling and taking it one step further by explaining why might be an answer that works for you. Just remember that by doing so, the other person might feel like you are inviting them to offer solutions.
When faced with somebody who is struggling, many people want to fix them right away and make them feel better. Most of us don’t like to see others suffer, and we feel like if we can help someone, everyone will feel better.
So, be prepared to talk about what’s wrong if you share with someone what’s going on. That person might try and fail to help you, which might put you in the worst place. But, at the same time, they might just surprise you by saying exactly what you need to hear. It’s a bit of a risk, sharing deeply, but the rewards can be substantial.
4. “I’m really struggling, and this is why . and I appreciate you asking, but I need to take care of myself.”
With this answer, you are sharing with the questioner how you’re feeling, but you are not inviting them to help you. You are acknowledging their caring gesture, which is important, while being clear with them that you don’t need — or want — them trying to fix you.
For many of us who are struggling with depression or anger or a breakup, we know when we are ready to start receiving help. At first, the feelings can be so deep that anything that anybody says to us seems inauthentic and not only doesn’t help, but makes things worse.
When you’re clear with someone that they can’t help you yet, you not only save yourself the agony of being forced to sit through something that might make you feel worse, but you also let your friend off the hook for trying to fix something that’s not yet fixable.
When I’m feeling depressed or sad or angry, I like staying away from people so I won’t have to be confronted with questions about how I am until I am ready.
The next time someone asks how you are, consider it a trick question. Do not respond with a one-word answer like “good” or “fine.” You can start with small talk, but don’t talk about the weather for more than a minute. Small talk yields small results. To achieve big impact, use this question as an opportunity to share meaningful information that will help to advance your career. Here are five better ways to answer the question, “How are you?”
1. Share a recent accomplishment.
Share your “wins.” Let the person know of a promotion, an award, a leadership appointment, a recent talk you gave or an article you wrote. When someone asks, “How are you?” and something positive in your life just happened, tell people. If you do not say anything, people will not know. Successful companies have great publicity and marketing teams. You are your business, and you have to be your own publicist and marketing team. You are your best advocate.
When you make people aware of the things you have been doing, it puts you in a good light. Don’t think of it as bragging. Instead, think of it as helping the person think of you when they come across future opportunities and projects.
2. “I could use some help with…”
People feel valued when they can apply their expertise. If you are working on something that could benefit from the person’s knowledge, inquire if they have the time and interest to help. Asking for their help is an opportunity to get to know others better and can lead to further collaboration from which you can benefit.
Do not assume that the person cannot or does not want to help. They will tell you if they are not interested or feel they cannot add value. Regardless, they will appreciate you asking.
Gallery: How to Prepare for Common Interview Questions
3. “I recently learned…”
Successful people are lifelong learners. Successful people also impart knowledge to others. Share something interesting you have learned. The recipient might be able to apply it to their work.
It takes discipline and curiosity for busy professionals to learn new things, whether they learn from reading a book or attending a professional development conference. Demonstrating your knowledge will leave the person impressed and aware of what you can offer.
4. “What are you currently working on?”
If you want others to listen to you, demonstrate an interest in them. Inquire about their current priorities. If it is something you can help with, let the person know how you can help. This could be an opportunity to show the person something they do not know about you and add value in other ways.
5. “What is your availability to schedule lunch together and catch-up?”
If you do not have the time that moment to respond meaningfully or are not in the best mood, ask about their availability to meet, for example, over lunch to talk. Don’t risk losing a future opportunity for a conversation to exchange information that could help your career.
When someone asks how you are, leverage the opportunity to provide a meaningful response. Share a recent accomplishment or something you learned, demonstrate an interest in the person, solicit their expertise or leave the door open for further conversation. Add value every chance you get.
What do you say when people ask you, “How are you?” Share with me your stories and thoughts via Twitter or LinkedIn.
You’ve probably heard the question How are you? many times. In fact, it’s probably one of the first things you’ve learned how to say in English. Because it’s such a simple question, knowing how to respond to it may seem pretty straightforward, but sometimes it can be a little more complicated than that.
In this article, we’ll look at a bunch of situations where people ask and respond to How are you? in different ways.
First, let’s look at a classic example conversation using this phrase:
A: Hello, how are you?
B: I’m well, thank you. And you?
A: I’m well, thank you.
Here, person A uses the question How are you? as a standard greeting. It’s customary to respond, but it’s not always necessary. In this case, person B decides to respond with I’m well. Notice that he uses the adverb well as a modifier for the verb to be (which becomes I’m).
This is grammatically the most correct way to respond, but as we’ll see later, it’s not the only way. Person B then returns the question by asking, And you?, to which person A gives a similar response. Let’s look at the next scenario:
A: Hey, how are you?
B: I’m good, thanks! You?
A: I’m fine. Lately, just classes and work.
Here, person B responds to the question How are you? not by saying I’m well but by saying I’m good. The word good is an adjective and traditionally not a proper modifier for the verb to be. But although this may be considered grammatically incorrect, it’s actually a much more common response than I’m well, which often sounds too stiff and formal.
- How are you?
- And you?
- How about you?
This next scenario is a bit more complicated:
Friend A: Hey, I haven’t seen you in forever!
Friend B: I know! How have you been doing?
Friend A: I’ve been doing well, thanks. How about you?
Friend B: Hanging in there. Want to grab lunch sometime?
Friend A: Yeah, I’m down!
First off, instead of simply asking How are you?, friend B asks a slightly different question: How have you been doing? The difference is that while How are you? simply asks about a current state, How have you been doing? asks how a person has been doing lately.
In other words, it’s a way to catch up with the other person. In this conversation, it’s an appropriate question since the two friends haven’t seen each other in a long time. You can also say How have you been?, which means the same thing. Similarly, How are you? and How are you doing? basically mean the same thing and are both commonly used.
In response, friend A conforms with the present perfect progressive tense by saying, I’ve been doing well. Here, it actually sounds natural to use the adverb well because it’s modifying the verb to do, not the verb to be. Friend B, on the other hand, responds to friend A’s question by saying Hanging in there. This is a casual idiom that basically means that life has been difficult (hectic, stressful, etc.), but the person is managing to keep up.
Since How are you? is used as a greeting, it’s common for the other person to respond in order to reciprocate the greeting, such as in this conversation at a supermarket:
Cashier: Hi, how are you?
Customer: I’m good, thank you. How are you?
Cashier: I’m doing well, thanks. Did you find everything alright today?
Cashier: Yes, thank you.
However, as I mentioned before, it’s also acceptable to not respond to the question, since it is such a common phrase that can mean not much more than a simple greeting. This is especially true with customers, who may not always respond to the greeting that a cashier uses with every single customer:
Cashier: Hi, how are you?
Cashier: Your total is $22.54.
Customer: (Gives the cashier his card) Here you go.
In this conversation, the cashier’s question goes unresponded, and the interaction simply continues as normal. Let’s move onto the next conversation:
Friend A: Hey man, what’s up?
Friend B: Not much. How are you doing?
Friend A: I’m doing good. Drinks tonight?
Friend B: Maybe. I just have to get up early for work tomorrow.
Friend A: Oh, right. How’s your new job going?
Friend B: It’s alright. I just have to get used to this new schedule.
It’s important to talk about the phrase What’s up? and how it’s different from How are you?. First of all, it’s much more informal and often used by young people. Second of all, it means something different and must be responded to accordingly.
While How are you? and similar phrases ask about a person’s state of being, What’s up? asks about what the person is doing or about what is happening in general. You can respond to the question by saying what you’re currently doing (e.g., I’m working, just studying, etc.), but the most common response to just say Not much. This phrase is so common, in fact, that it has its own texting abbreviation: nm.
In response, friend B doesn’t simply ask How are you? but How are you doing?. Once again, these two mean the same thing, but friend A’s response conforms to the present progressive tense (I’m doing good). Although good is technically grammatically incorrect, since the adjective is not a proper modifier for to do, it still sounds natural.
In the fifth line, friend A asks a much more specific question about friend B: How’s your new job going? We have now moved past the realm of simple greetings, and the two people are now having a more involved conversation with each other.
You may have noticed up until now that most of these responses to How are you? tend to be positive (I’m fine, I’m good, I’m well, etc.) However, though this is most customary, you certainly don’t have to respond this way. Some people are more honest than others and might immediately say how they are truly feeling, rather than conforming to the standard formula of greetings. For example:
A: How are you?
B: Um, not so good.
A: Why, what’s wrong?
On the other hand, the formula of How are you? followed by a positive, although ingenuine, response is so common that in order to understand one’s true current state, you’ll have to dig a bit deeper. Take a look a this example:
A: How are you?
A: I’m fine… You look a little upset. Is everything okay?
B: Well, not really…
At first, person B responds to person A’s question in a conventional way by saying Fine (these one-word answers are just as appropriate as saying I’m fine, etc.). However, person A can clearly tell that something is wrong and asks person B a much more genuine question: Is everything okay?
This question, functioning much differently from the common greeting of How are you?, elicits a much more honest response from person B, who confesses, “Well, not really…” Hopefully, this can show you how two questions, although they mean similar things semantically, function very differently and thus should be used differently depending on what you want from a conversation.
In the before time, “How are you?” was a simple pleasantry. No one ever really meant it when they asked. It was a prompt, a mere introduction, a segue into a larger conversation.
However, in the middle of total social collapse, being asked “How are you?” has become a lifeline for many who have felt the real weight of loneliness, and some may feel compelled to grab the opportunity to spill their emotional guts.
There’s an ever-growing pandemic. We’re in the midst of what can only be described as a chaotic presidential election, millions are on the brink of financial ruin, and thousands more are marching in the streets night after night fighting for racial justice. So when someone asks, “How are you?” it’s only natural to want to respond, “You know what? I’m not great. Not great at all. In fact, I’m terrible, thanks, how are you?”
It’s official, California: COVID-19 has left us sick with worry and increasingly despondent. And young adults — ages 18 to 29 — are feeling it worst.
But how deep is too deep an answer to give to family, friends, co-workers or the checkout person at the supermarket when they ask the polite question?
“Isolation is not a good counselor,” says Dr. Anthonio Damasio, a professor of neuroscience, psychology and philosophy as well as the director of the Brain and Creativity Institute at USC. “Loneliness is not good medicine ever, but it’s even worse medicine if you are at risk in the middle of a pandemic.” (The author of this story is an adjunct professor at USC.)
When this at-risk demographic is asked, “How are you?” some may feel more inclined to share, or even overshare, as it might feel like their one chance at a caring ear, Damasio says.
“Some people are by nature more open to sharing things,” he says. “I don’t think that has disappeared just because we are in the middle of bad times, health-wise and politically. That’s just reality. Some people are fundamentally more prone to sharing things that otherwise would be thought of as irrelevant or inappropriate.”
Mindfulness meditation can help provide clarity during anxious moments. Use our tips to stay calm during the coronavirus outbreak and other stressful events.
However, the appropriateness of just how deep one gets on the contents of their personal 2020 hell should still be controlled by context. Context of how the person asked and who is asking.
“You don’t want to go into a story about your own problems when you are being asked something from a person that you hardly know,” Damasio says. “Some kind of caution and modesty is recommended.”
Sometimes there’s more nuance to how one should respond, according to Elaine Swann, an etiquette expert for more than two decades.
“People are taking these opportunities to say, ‘You know what, I’m not doing well.’ So when we ask this question, we really need to be more thoughtful as opposed to just stating the question without expecting to hear a real response,” she says.
As for how far people can go when sharing their emotions, Swann offered some advice.
Here’s where people can jump right into the deep end with their emotions, according to Swann. “If a family member were to ask you how you’re doing, not only can we be more transparent, we absolutely should be because these are the folks who are closest to us,” Swann says. “They are the ones who may be able to be that listening ear or rally up other family members to let them know that we need more care and support. We should intentionally share more with our family members right now than anyone else.”
I usually reply ‘ Blooming ‘ ! Which could mean blooming good or blooming awful !
i’m not the most sympathetic person so i don’t expect any back so i usually just say i’m fine.
If people close to me ask how i am i normally say”the usual” which to them means i not great but ok.. if i having a bad day i normally say so they can understand if i am not myself..If it someone i happen to just know.. i just say”i ok thanks”.. It would depress me if i said i felt rubbish everytime someone asked how i was lol.. so rather not keep sounding like a stuck record lol..
People always ask this question but not expecting a negative reply. I always reply with a” bad thanks and yourself”. To say not bad, i think I am leaving it open if they are genuinely enquiring they will ask further.
this one comes up from time to time.
I find it best to avoid competition. (some only ask to tell you about themselves )
I say fine thanks how are you?
To me it is a good mannered form of greeting to ask, but no-one really cares.
Having said that there are those who REALLY REALLY do those who then say. No REALLY how are you.
I treasure those people because they mean it and always make sure their interest is reciprocated.
I think it is just used as a greeting most of the time, “hello how are you”
and people expect you to say fine thank you.
Sooo thats what I say. I am fine thankyou and you?
I s’pose it depends on who’s asking. If it’s a friend, a family member or a casual acquaintance, the answer is always “fine thank you, how are you?”. If someone asks “how are you feeling today?”, I would probably still say that I was ok and move the conversation on but I might mention that I’m tired or not feeling quite 100 percent. In person, I’m not great at talking about how it affects me. Even in my appts, I’m a bit rubbish. They ask how I am and I automatically say that I’m fine. Then, I feel my mum prod me (gently, of course!) and I get ‘the look’.
I usually reply with OK, still putting one foot in front of the other, still breathing, good, could be better, people do not really want to know at great length how I am and I have no wish to go into detail either. I do not mind listening to them though if I have the time. I have always been more of a listener than a talker although my hubby would disagree I only tell my close friends and family how I really feel and sometimes do not even wish to talk to them about it, other topics are so much more interesting to listen and talk about.
Is it easy for you to answer? Or does it feel more complicated than others might realize?
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When people ask you where you’re from, is it easy for you to answer? Have you moved around a lot or have you always lived in the same place?
Are people usually satisfied with your response, or do you find yourself having to explain further?
In “The Complexity in ‘Where Are You From?’” Vanessa Hua writes about asking her parents that question:
When I asked my father where he was born, I never got a straight answer. Wuhan, he’d say. In other moments, he’d claim Wuchang.
I didn’t understand why he couldn’t state a simple fact. My assumption reflected my privilege, that of a girl who’d known only the peace and stability of the suburbs east of San Francisco. Much later, I would realize that his birthplace had been absorbed into Wuhan, a provincial capital formed from the sprawl of Wuchang, Hankou and Hanyang.
My father is gone now, but I’ve wondered what he would make of the coronavirus. He surely would have worried about his family more than himself.
It would have pained him that relations have cratered between his ancestral and adopted homelands, causing a backlash against Asian-Americans. “Go back to where you came from!” we’re told.
But where did we come from, and why does it matter? Among other Chinese, the question is a conversation starter in which we can situate ourselves and our people, in every far-flung corner of the diaspora. Your ancestral province might stamp itself upon your character, in your traits — determining your height, your ambitions and your looks.
Born in China, my parents fled to the island of Taiwan at the close of World War II. Later on, they came to the United States for graduate school in science and engineering.
I used to think my parents were cagey about their past because they wanted to focus on the future. Perhaps, growing up in the shadow of Communism, or in making a life for themselves in this country, they’d also learned not to disclose too much, for who knew how it might get turned against them?
All that might have been true, though now I understand I may have missed another reason. Just as my father couldn’t readily tell me where he was born, neither of my parents could say exactly where they were from because they’d moved around so much during their childhood, amid conflicts with Japanese forces in the years before and during World War II.
She continues, reflecting on her own experience about trying to explain where she is from:
I never faced such perils. Before leaving for college, I lived at the same address all my life, in the airy, light-filled house designed by my father, a structural engineer. It’s the same house where I now live with my twin sons, my husband and my mother.
And yet the question “where are you from?” is just as complicated for me to answer. Or rather, my initial reply — “I’m from California”— never seems to satisfy the strangers asking. Their mouths twitch and silence lengthens between us.
“I’m from the Bay Area,” I’ll clarify, even though I know I’m delaying the inevitable. It’s clear what they want to know, which perversely makes me want to hold out on them.
“But …” they trail off.
I can tell they think I’m misleading them. Some can’t hide their irritation that I’m not revealing information they feel entitled to having.
At last I’ll say, “I was born in the United States, but my parents are from China.”
They nod, pleased to confirm their suspicion that my family isn’t from here, that Asian-Americans are perpetual foreigners. They don’t realize they’re asking a question even my father couldn’t have answered.
Students, read the entire essay, then tell us:
How do you respond when people ask you where you are from? To you, is where you are from the town you were born in? The house you grew up in? The place you’ve lived that has felt the most like home? The country your parents or ancestors are from? Or something else?
Ms. Hua asks, “But where did we come from, and why does it matter?” What do you think? How much does where you are from matter to you? Why do we ask people this question? What can the answer reveal about a person? What can’t it tell us?
How important is it to you to know where your parents and family come from? What do you think this information can tell you about them? About yourself? How freely do your parents and other relatives talk about their past?
Ms. Hua writes that, for her, the question “Where are you from?” can sometimes carry extra weight; people aren’t satisfied until she answers in a way that confirms “their suspicion that my family isn’t from here, that Asian-Americans are perpetual foreigners.” Have you ever had an experience like hers? How did it make you feel? Have you ever doubted where someone is from because of how he or she looks? Does this essay make you think any differently about asking that question in the future?
Ms. Hua says of her grandmother’s necklace, which has been passed down in her family, “Where I’m from is everywhere it’s been.” Do you have an object that connects you to your home and to your family? What is it and what does it symbolize for you?
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I’m sure one of the very first things you learned to say in English was, “How are you?” People will probably ask you this question A LOT! It’s really easy to answer, but there are a few things to remember. Here’s how to feel comfortable answering this question, every time.
1. “How are you?” is Simply Another Way to Say Hello — Here’s How to Answer
Most of the time, we use this question as a polite way to say hello, and you don’t need to say anything about how you are really feeling. Say one or two positive words, thank them for asking, and ask them the same question. Any of these answers will work almost all of the time:
“Great, thank you. How are you?” (very positive)
“Good, thanks, and you?” (positive – this is the most common answer)
“Fine, thanks. How are you?” (a little less positive – I’m okay)
Your answer will depend on the person who is asking, and how well you know them.
2. “Hi, Boss, how are you?”
If you are in a business situation, you might be saying hello to your boss or colleague, or meeting someone for the first time. You need to answer briefly, but in a positive way. “Great!” “I’m doing really well, thank you,” or “Fantastic!” are all good ways to answer. They will tell the other person that you are enthusiastic and ready to work. You might be shaking hands, too. Here’s how that conversation might go:
Mr. Brown: Good morning, Mr. Mendoza. How are you today?
Mr. Mendoza: I’m good, thanks. And you?
Mr. Brown: Great, great, thanks. (shaking hands)
Two things to notice here:
- The answer is short and positive, even if you have had a terrible day.
- Many times, people will answer with the word “good.” Good is an adjective, and can describe you, so it’s okay to use with the verb “to be.” You can also say “I’m doing well.” Well is an adverb, and it describes how you are doing or feeling.
3. How to Answer “How Are You?” When Meeting Strangers and Other Formal Situations
If you are talking to a waiter, a cashier at the checkout, or if you’re being introduced to a person in a casual situation, your answer can be a little different. Let’s look at a sample:
Cashier (as she checks you out): Hi, how are you today?
You: Fine, thanks. It’s a beautiful day.
Some things to notice here:
- “How are you?” is just a way of greeting someone in a polite way.
- Don’t say anything personal. For example, don’t tell the cashier that you are buying medicine because your child stayed home sick from school today.
4. How to Answer “How Are You?” When Hanging Out With Friends in Casual Situations
Your friends will probably ask you the very same question, but It might sound a little different! You might hear:
How are you doing?
Here’s the nice thing – when you are with friends and family, you can tell the truth! If you are talking to people who care about you, you can tell them that you’ve had a bad day, or that you feel tired.
One thing you still shouldn’t do is answer with a complete description of some medical problems you are having. If you are talking to a friend, you can offer more information if they ask (and if they are your friend, they probably will!) Here’s a conversation between friends:
Marta: Hi, John! How are you?
John: I’m fine, maybe a little tired. I need some more coffee.
Marta: Oh, I’m sorry. Did you sleep well last night?
John: Not really. I had a headache when I went to bed, and I still have it this morning.
A couple things to see:
- The question is the same! “How are you?” works for both formal and informal conversations.
- The answer is more personal, but still doesn’t give much information. If your friend wants more information, they will ask you.
So, How Are You?
Remember, “How are you?” is usually just another way to say hello. If you smile and say “Good, thanks,” you’ve successfully answered the question.
And extra points if you also ask, “How are you?” in response!
Now, what if you hear a different question? For example, many native English speakers will ask you “How have you been?” instead of “How are you?” So how do you answer that question? Find out in this lesson (click here)!
So this happened to me twice already with a coworker or a friend from school. The first old coworker asked me how I was and I told her I was doing well and that I picked up this new temp gig. And how she was doing. She didn't reply. Then I notice she took up the temp gig I told her about (because our app shows who in your circle pick up the gig). She is really into social media and like to do videos of her make up so I am aware she doing well too but I found that strange when people ask you how you are doing that it is just cordial to reply.
Well I also have another former classmate who started at a casino 6 months ago with my ex. We all went to the same casino dealing school. I just told her nothing change except I have been traveling to Mexico often and it is fun. I also told her I work at a couple hotels and catering companies. And then I asked her how she is doing and no reply.
Am I supposed to reply with the basic, "fine, and you?" I had classmates contacted me before and ask me how I am doing and I always answer great! and they never reply to when I ask them how they are doing?
Is it me? Should I have reply shorter phrases? Not be honest and say I am miserable. I have been really blessed to have good flexible jobs and things to do but I don't know why people bother asking how I am doing if when I reply, they don't reply. Did they wanted me to reply a certain way? I am kind of lost. I always thought growing up replying when people ask you was a common thing. I am not good with social cues so I feel like sometimes I miss the in between. I once had a roommate asked me to her graduation and then say maybe I am too busy. I told her never and I actually email to follow up with her and no reply. Then months later she asked me to come pick up some books and toilet paper that I left years ago (pre covid, and the interaction was pre covid). I then think she was just being polite but don't want me to come to her graduation. I also met up with friends from elementary school and decades later, it came out that one of them really resented me because my handwriting was bad but I got better grades than her. I don't even remember that from 3rd grade or I was kind of shock that I remember them all fondly but in reality, some of them didn't actually like me? Maybe I am just oblivious that people don't really like me. 🙁 I think I am nice person and good coworker.
So, some part of me is sad that I think I have friends or nice coworkers but in reality they don't really want to know that I am doing well and they don't want to reply back to me. But why bother to ask me how I am doing. I just don't get that. Can someone please enlight me or comfort me? I think maybe I am autistic but I have good customer service from all my social jobs. I am not sure. Just maybe feeling like it is me and I don't understand the proper way to reply when people text me.
Personally, I think it is strange if I just text coworkers/friends how they are doing if I didn't really want to know how they are doing and hoping they ignore my text instead of replying. It seems disingenuous. So they must wanted to know how I am doing if they text me correct? But why not reply back when I asked about them. Don't people like to talk about themselves? I know many of my guests loves to talk to me when I work so I am lost with proper reply text etiquette to the "how are you? what is new?". Someone please help me understand.
I’ve dubbed this process “Making the Mundane Memorable,” and you’re presented with myriad opportunities to do so throughout your job search. Especially when interviewers, strangers and colleagues constantly ask you, “So, how are you today?”
Sure, it’s an overused and otherwise boring question. Not to mention, most people who ask it don’t actually care how you are. They’re either: 1) being nice, 2) breaking the ice, or 3) reverting into a predictable routine of psychological self-disclosure and cliché conversation.
But here’s the cool part: If you make the choice to leverage this mundane moment, you will instantly double your memorability.
I know this because I’ve been wearing a nametag 24/7 for 3,237 consecutive days. And strangers break the ice with me every day because of it. Some say hi, some introduce themselves, and some stop me in the middle of the aisle at Wal-Mart and ask me if I can tell them where to find the lime-green thongs they saw on sale in this week’s ad.
Either way, some encounter that otherwise wouldn’t have existed did occur, all because of approachability.
Here’s why: Curiosity is a natural motivator of human engagement. And there’s a certain sociological dissonance when people observe an unexpected or unexplained behavior. Especially when it’s inconsistent with their environment. (Like some random guy wearing a nametag.)
And that’s the secret: Because it’s that dissonance that increases the probability of a memorable encounter.
Your challenge as an unemployed professional is to stimulate curiosity, break patterns and attract interest when people ask you questions.
See, when someone asks you, “So, how are you?” you have a choice:
Be mundane or be memorable.
Be interesting or be unemployed.
Be unforgettable or be unemployable.
For example: You walk into a job interview. You’re prepared, well rested and hopped up on coffee, and you look like a hundred thousand bucks. Perfect.
When you extend your hand to greet your interviewer, she predictably asks, “So, how are you today?”
Stop right there. Don’t answer yet.
Remember the key question of approachability: “What could I do, in this moment, that would be the exact opposite of everyone else?
Let’s explore several potential answers to this question:
Terrible. Fine is a lie. Nobody is fine. Fine is an acronym for “Feelings I’m Not Expressing.” Don’t say it.
Weak. Here’s why: First, good was good enough. Then great was good enough. Now, great isn’t that great anymore. Interviewers demand wow. So: You need to be amazing. Like, scary good. Everything else is your ante.
Getting better. Positive and energetic. A little unexpected, but still fairly common. Still, I think you can provide something more interesting.
4. “Ready to rock.”
Nice! Sounds confident yet playful. Not for everybody, but if it fits your personality and the personality of the company interviewing you, go for it.
My personal favorite. For years I’ve been answering the question, “So, Scott, how are you?” with this word. People notice it. People remember it. People ask follow-up questions about it. Because they’re curious. Works every time. Not to mention, the word perfect comes from the Latin perfectus, which means, “complete.” Which means it’s always the truth. Because all of us are always complete. Don’t forget that.
6. “Everything is beautiful!”
Now that’s what I’m talking about. When I first started my publishing and consulting company in 2002, I got a part-time job as a valet, crashing (I mean parking) cars nights and weekends. Interestingly, the overnight bellman was a guy named Henry who said, “Everything is beautiful!” daily. He was also voted Employee of the Year five years in a row. Coincidence? Maybe. Better than your answer? Absolutely.
7. Create your own answer.
None of these examples hit home? No problem. Make a list of 10 unique, memorable and unexpected answers to the boring question, “So, how are you today?” Experiment with words and expressions that are consistent with your personal brand and philosophy. Try a new one each day. Have some fun with it. You’ve got nothing to lose.
OK! Back to your job interview…
If you recall, you’re about to meet the person who very well could decide the fate of your very career.
She smiles, reaches out her hand and asks, “So, how are you today?”
Will you make the mundane memorable?
Will you leverage remarkability to trigger an emotional engagement?
Will you get noticed, get remembered and get the job that will save you from this horrible economy?
Or, will you respond like the other 37 (equally qualified) candidates she’s already met this week by predictably saying, “Fine”?
The choice is yours.
Either stand out from the crowd or stand in line at the unemployment office.
Let me ask ya this:
What could you do in this moment that would be the exact opposite of everyone else?
This was an actual exchange between two students sitting at my table in the dining hall. When I heard it, I burst out laughing and quipped, ”Well, that was a meaningful conversation.” Maybe I was being a bit insensitive, but, although I have lived in the U.S. for more than two years and know this is a normal conversation, it still strikes me as odd.
One of the most challenging aspects of being an international student is that you not only have to master a foreign language, but also to recognize the meaning that hides behind the words.
Almost every day I am asked, “How are you?” or “How are you doing?” I’m expected to respond, “Good” or “Fine,” and ask the other person how they are, to which they will also respond, “Good.”
To this day, this style of greeting strikes me as an abuse of a question with which people show care and concern to one another in my culture. When somebody asks, “How are you?” in Hungary, I assume that person is truly interested in my well-being and wants to listen to what I have to share.
In the U.S., this expression means, “Hi,” and does not imply that the person is the least bit interested in my personal life.
After realizing what these great words of appreciation, care, and kindness mean in the U.S., one can feel a bit betrayed and resentful of their conversational partners, who suddenly seem superficial and insincere. But the expression is simply a cultural greeting: One should not misinterpret it as an initiation of profound conversation.
In general, people from the U.S. do not like to express their emotions to strangers or acquaintances. They prefer to put on a permanent smile and mask their other feelings. The U.S. culture is based on individualism — the idea that one should only rely on one’s self and family — and this often leads them to avoid getting too close to others, including by using meaningful expressions in ways that might seem superficial to foreigners.
This is why another word that should have a deep meaning is used quite casually in the U.S.: friend.
While you might expect that this label implies a close relationship, people in the U.S. call almost everyone they know a “friend.”
This contributes to the famous American friendliness and informality, because calling everyone a friend gives the impression that everyone is a friend. But it also makes it hard for people, especially people from another culture, to decipher who is a true friend from all those who are assigned this description.
People in the U.S. are certainly capable of having genuine interest in another person’s well-being and of forming genuine relationships. It is important to realize, however, that they often prefer to keep an emotional distance from others, including their friends.
The verbal subtly of words like "friend" and phrases like, "How are you?" can be difficult to understand, but one of the challenges and the beauties of living abroad is embracing the peculiarities of the host country. To me this means learning how to speak not only the language but also the culture.
Want to learn a few new ways to say “How are you?” in English? This is a question English speakers ask all the time. When we meet someone new, bump into a colleague at work and especially when we meet friends. It can get a bit repetitive to always ask the same question, we are here to help: You can ask “How are you” in English in a formal way, informally or even in slang. Here are a few ways to use different variations.
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General ways to ask “How are you?” in English
How are you?
We can’t leave this one out. It’s one of the most basic phrases in the English language and you can use it in any context. With friends, colleagues, your boss, your teacher… it’s always good. The usual response, certainly in the English-speaking world is “Fine, thanks”, or “Good, thanks”. We would answer in this way even if the sky is falling around us. So a formal “How are you?” isn’t always a question that invites a truthful answer.
How’s it going?
“How’s it going?” is a bit more informal than “How are you?”. But, it’s still a very good general phrase you can use with most people. In English speaking countries, it would be fine to use this phrase with someone more senior than you (like your boss), provided you have a bit of a relationship with them. But, again, the answer is likely to be, “Good, thanks”, even if it’s not true.
How’s everything?/How are things?
This is a question you would ask someone you know. It implies that you know a bit about their life and that you don’t mind hearing about it. So you could ask a colleague, “How’s everything?”, and they might answer, “All good, thanks. That project I was working on…”.
What’s been going on?
This is another good question to ask someone you know. It invites them to tell you a bit about their life and what has happened since you last saw them. So you’re more likely to hear a truthful answer to this question than you are if you ask ‘How are you?’.
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Those three words have become a prescriptive question with a prescriptive answer in today’s society.
When we’re asked how we are, we’re expected to automatically respond with, “Great,” “Good,” or at the very worst, “I’m fine.”
But in a world where 1 in 5 people will experience a mental health or addiction challenge in their lifetime, and 100 percent of people will have a bad day every now and then, why is it that so few of us are prepared to respond when someone tells us they’re not actually doing okay?
That’s exactly the question
Dani, a woman who has lived with anxiety and depression for more than 12 years, opens up to some complete strangers about her experience with depression. When they ask her how she is—she answers honestly. She’s not doing well. In fact, she has been struggling with severe depression.
What follows is mostly a series of awkward pauses. People seem to want to help—they just don’t know how.
“You just expect the automatic response of, ‘How are you doing?,’ ‘I’m good,’” said one of the participants when asked why he was caught off guard at Dani’s honesty. “And I don’t think people do it because they’re inconsiderate, I think it’s because they honestly don’t know what to say.”
That’s where Mental Health First Aid is valuable. It teaches people a concrete action plan for starting or continuing a conversation about mental health or addiction, and for helping people find appropriate support, whether that’s treatment or just a non-judgmental listening ear.
“If you had cancer, you wouldn’t will yourself to get better with that. And so, I think that—I hope that people just start talking about [mental health] more,” said another participant.
Talking about mental health and substance use more is a great place to start tearing down the barriers that prevent so many from seeking and receiving help. And knowing how to have those conversations is the first step in that direction.
If you aren’t already trained in Mental Health First Aid, learn the action plan – take a course near you. Knowing how to respond when someone tells you they’re not okay can change — or even save — a life.
Hi! I’m Vanessa from Go Natural English. How have you been?
Recently, Gabby and I taught you how to answer the question, “How are you?” Today we’re going to teach you something similar.
How Are You? vs. How Have You Been?
Did you notice that I asked “How have you been?” Many students know how to answer the question “How are you?” But they don’t understand when native speakers ask them “How have you been?” We’ll talk about the difference between “How are you?” and “How have you been?” We’re also going to provide lots of examples and a quiz!
The Pronunciation Can Be Confusing!
When you look at this question on a piece of paper, you see “How have you been?” But when we talk, we actually speak fast and we use contractions. “How have you been?” becomes “How’ve ya been?”
You can also say “How’s he been?” instead of saying “How has he been?”, or “How’ve they been?”. Try to practice this as much as you can. You’re going to hear this all the time!
Important Questions to Learn
“How are you?” and “How have you been?” are both very important questions. Why? Because they’re greetings! If you don’t know how to tell somebody how you’re doing, then the conversation can’t really continue. You could answer both questions by saying “Not too bad,” or “So far, so good,” or just “Great!”
So What’s the Difference?
The difference is that “How are you?” is in the present tense. I want to know how you are doing RIGHT NOW.
“How have you been?” is the present perfect tense. It means that I want to know what you’ve been doing since I saw you the last time. I know you, but I haven’t seen you for a while.
Here’s an example. Maybe you have a friend who has been sick for two weeks, and you haven’t seen him. When you see him again, it would be appropriate to ask him, “How have you been?”
You could also say “How are you?” using the present tense. But because you care about your friend and you knew he was sick, it would be better to ask “How have you been?” He can respond by saying “Oh, I’ve been great,” or “I’ve been feeling much better.”
Here’s another example. I see Gabby almost every day. When I see her, I don’t ask “How have you been?”, I ask “How are you?” We only ask “How have you been?” if we haven’t seen someone in a week or more.
More Ways to Answer “How Have You Been?”
Are there different ways to answer this question? Sure, there are!
You can use the continuous form of a verb in your sentence. Just add -ing, and that will make your sentence sound better and give the person more information about how you have been.
More examples, please!
I have been feeling fantastic recently.
I have been working a lot.
Oh, I have been sleeping a lot lately.
I have been studying a lot lately.
A Way to Keep the Conversation Going
Here’s a sample conversation between me and my cousin. I haven’t seen her in a month.
Vanessa: How have you been?
Cousin: Oh, I’ve been working a lot.
Vanessa: What have you been working on?
This is a really great way to keep a conversation going.
Conversations with Gabby and Vanessa
Gabby: Vanessa! It’s been so long! How have you been?
Vanessa: I know, Gabby, I haven’t seen you in months. I’ve been traveling a lot lately.
Gabby: Lucky you!
Vanessa: Good morning, Dr. Wallace.
Gabby (Dr. Wallace): Good morning.
Vanessa: How’ve ya been? I haven’t seen you since my last yearly checkup.
Gabby: I’ve been busy working. You’re my twentieth patient today.
Gabby: Vanessa, I just saw you post a photo with Alyssa and Laura. How’ve they been? I haven’t seen them in ages!
Vanessa I haven’t seen them in forever, either. They said they’ve been doing great. They were actually doing some shopping with their brother, Mike.
Gabby: Oh, Mike! How’s he been? I haven’t seen him in a while, either.
Vanessa: He’s also doing really well. He’s been trying to purchase a new home.
Time For a Quiz!
How well do you understand what you’ve learned in this English lesson? See if you can answer these six questions:
- What is a more natural, native way to say “How have you been?”
This is about pronunciation. Try saying it out loud to yourself a little faster, using a contraction. The answer is “How’ve ya been?”
- What is a faster, more native way to say “I have been…”?
Instead of “I have been…”, say “I’ve been…” Using contractions will help you sound more native.
- If I am meeting you for the first time, is it appropriate to ask, “How have you been?”
No. Remember, this is a question for people that we already know.
- When someone asks you,”How’ve you been lately?”, is it correct to answer, “I’ve been feel great!”
It’s not correct, but why not?
Remember, with that verb feel we need to put -ing at the end. “I’ve been feeling great lately.” “I’ve been working a lot lately.” “I’ve been busy studying these days.”
- You see your co-workers every day. Is it okay to ask them how they’ve been every morning?
I hope you said no! “How have you been?” is for when you want to have a conversation with someone you haven’t seen in a while.
- You return to work after a week-long vacation, and you see your co-worker. Can you ask, “How have you been?”
Yes! This would be the perfect time to use the present perfect form of the question. You haven’t seen them in a week. They might want to have a conversation about your vacation.
How Did You Do on the Quiz?
Let us know in the comments below. And tell us how you’ve been! We care about you, and we want to grow our relationship with you.
If you learned a lot from this post, you might want to also read this post about how to answer the question, “How are you?” Thanks for learning English with us! Check out all our new YouTube videos and we’ll see you next time at Go Natural English!
When hunting for your next job opportunity, you should apply and interview with multiple companies. But how candid should you be when a hiring manager asks you about their competition in a job interview?
The good news: If you’re asked whether you are interviewing with other companies, the employer is likely signaling a strong interest in hiring you.
“In my experience, this question is usually a positive sign because that means I’m already interested. If I’m not interested in you, I don’t care if you’re interviewing with someone else,” said Rob Cancilla, a senior director at the recruiting firm Hunt Club.
Being honest can help speed up the interview process and lead to more job offers. But there’s a tactful way to answer this question to be sure that the person asking doesn’t assume you have a lack of interest in the role.
When asked about other possibilities, be honest about offers and final interviews. It makes you a more attractive candidate.
Jackie Cuevas, a nonprofit human resource administrator who has worked as a recruiter, recommends being transparent if you are interviewing elsewhere. If a company really likes you, then it can spur decision-makers to move more quickly to get you on the team, she said.
You can answer by saying something like, “ Right now, I have finished final interviews with three companies. They said they would let me know within the next couple of weeks,” Cuevas said.
If you are not close to final interviews with anyone, you could say something like, “Yeah, I am actively applying to opportunities. I am just ready for that next chapter in my life,” she said.
“You kind of create a little bit of FOMO.”
Of course, when you mention other job interviews, you want to make it clear to the employer that their role is a priority.
One way you can do this is by casually saying, “I have been fortunate, and I’m actually engaged with a lot of conversations. Want you to know, though, from everything we’ve talked about, that this is the role that I’m most interested in,” Cancilla said.
By mentioning other roles and your active interest in the company, “you kind of create a little bit of FOMO” ― fear of missing out ― “but then reinforce that. ‘Everything that I’ve heard to date makes me really excited about this opportunity at your company,’” Cancilla said.
Cuevas echoed that it’s key to tie your answer back to the current role you’re interviewing for because “no one wants to hear ‘I don’t want to work for you.’”
Do you have to name the other companies? Cancilla said that you don’t, unless you think naming a brand would make you a more attractive candidate.
It’s also OK if you don’t have multiple interviews in the works. Cancilla noted that if someone wasn’t interviewing elsewhere, he would not think, “Oh, this person isn’t good because nobody else is interviewing them.”
You don’t have to wait to be asked if you have other offers.
If you are not directly asked about other opportunities in a job interview, you can bring it up yourself when it might give you a tactical advantage.
Nadia De Ala, founder of Real You Leadership, a group coaching program for women of color, said it’s ideal for her clients to have multiple job offers they can leverage. One quick way to get an offer is to mention that you already have one.
“A previous client had one job offer she was extremely excited about but still wanted to see what was possible with another company that was moving slower in interviewing,” De Ala said. “We worked on a strategy for her to reach out to the recruiter of the second company, and she candidly explained her new timeline with her existing offer, building some urgency. She was able to expedite the interviewing process with this second company to go through final rounds within that same week to get a second offer, increasing her earning potential.”
Whether or not you bring it up first, mentioning the other interviews you’re having shows that you are a strong candidate.
“Being candid about this shows you’re hot and in demand, helps them prioritize you and can potentially streamline your interviewing process,” De Ala said.
As a professional, you want to provide the best service available. You’ve worked hard to develop the skills which allow you to give your clients the best advice and guidance available.
So what do you do when someone approaches you and asks for a discount?
Obviously, you can’t afford to provide your services for free. So how do you respond to a discount request in a way that shows respect for the customer but doesn’t devalue your business?
Here’s how to respond to clients asking for a discount:
Be Sure You’ve Sold Your Services the Correct Way
Believe it or not, there is a right way and a wrong way to make a sale. Just getting to “yes” isn’t enough. You need to do so in a way that is based on proving the value of what you offer right away.
Before you even tell anyone what you can do, start by discovering their needs. Find out what their goals are and where they have had trouble with fitness in the past. Then, tailor your solutions to meet those needs.
As you describe your services, tie in what you do with the needs the client has already expressed. Once you get to the price, the customer will already be convinced and the price will not be a hurdle.
If you do get an objection, emphasize your value again and point out how you’re helping them reach their goals. That should help them understand that what you offer is worth the full price.
Here are some ways you can respond when potential clients insistent on a discount anyway:
“Good question. Do you see price being an obstacle to your fitness?”
This reply does two things. First, it brings up that the price is not for workouts, a gym, or a program. The amount they’re paying is for their fitness and health. When you emphasize this, the client isn’t thinking, “Is this program worth it,” but instead, “Is my health and fitness worth it?”
Secondly, it gives the client a chance to tell you what their real needs and budget are. Perhaps they honestly cannot afford your primary offering. In that case, it’s important to offer them other options so that they can continue to pursue their goals — even if it’s not with you.
This simple, open-ended question can help you determine if your potential client has a real budget problem or is asking for a discount just to see if they can get a lower price.
Sometimes people have the impression that you’re overcharging to make a larger profit, and they want a more fair price. By asking why they want a discount, you can get to the bottom of their true motivation.
In the experience of many professionals, when they ask ‘why’ the prospect often goes on to say, “Oh, I was just wondering,” and then goes on to pay the full price.
“I can offer a discount if we (Insert Change to Program Here)”
Another great option if someone truly needs a discount is to offer a smaller version of your program that can help them meet their needs. There are a lot of adjustments you can make that preserve the value of your time and expertise while still giving a lower price.
For instance, offer twice a week training instead of three times. Another option is to provide a payment plan, or perhaps a lower price for a longer contract. You can offer 12 months for less than twice the 6-month program, for instance.
Offer Additional Value
Do you have an add-on, additional product, or service that doesn’t require too much from you? You can throw that into the deal to help the client see that you’re willing to offer a high level of value for the price.
If you don’t have anything additional, circle back to the earlier part of the conversation and share, again, how you’re helping them meet their goals. You don’t need to be negative or induce guilt, simply point out, “You said your fitness is really important to you this year. I want to help you meet those goals.”
Then, go on to describe how your offer helps them meet the goals they mentioned earlier. You can also ask more questions to uncover additional motivations, which you can highlight during your conversation.
“I can’t offer that discount, but I can refer you to…”
Sometimes a client truly can’t afford your services. When you say no, be sure that you don’t stop there. You need to refer them to another option that can help them move forward.
You might suggest some free resources, a different program you’re aware of that it’s in their price range, or another helpful suggestion. Be sure you follow up with a statement like, “When you are able to take advantage of our program, I’d love to help you.”
You can decide if you want to follow up with them or let them reach out to you. If it sounds like someone who could genuinely become a great client, be sure to contact them in a few months. Sometimes, though, it’s best to let them go.
Don’t Give Up If They Can’t Buy Today
You might think that you should always offer discounts because, after all, you want a new client. But the truth is, you do want a client, but not at the expense of your business and value.
Instead, follow up with clients who haven’t been able to afford you. You never know when their situation will change. By staying consistent, you can ensure you’ll be their first call when they are able to afford your fitness help.
This will also help you avoid offending current clients. After all, they paid full price. Why should someone else get the same thing for less money?
It’s vital to focus on the value you provide and never offer a discount without a change in the terms. You’ll be happier and your business will be more successful.
When you’re an expert in any field, people may regularly ask to “pick your brain,” buy you lunch or some other form of asking for advice. For free, of course.
If you feel conflicted at time like these, it makes perfect sense. Your schedule is packed, yet your instinct might still be to jump in and help. In fact, your generosity and desire to make a difference likely played a huge part in you going into business to begin with.
But in certain instances you’ll need to draw a line. Maybe you’re simply too busy or you sense someone is seeking endless free consulting without giving anything back. No one likes feeling used. Yet you know these informal meetings can help with growing your network, building your business through referrals and more. It can be a sticky situation.
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Even when you feel confident with the concept of saying no, asserting yourself is a skill that takes practice and often doesn’t come naturally. In the moment you may be at a loss for words, agonizing over the right thing to say to put up a supportive-yet-firm boundary that doesn’t burn any bridges.
Gallery: In Photos: 7 Face-To-Face Networking Mistakes That Could Kill Your Professional Image
It’s important to become familiar with concrete strategies and scripts so you can maintain that ideal mix of being generous without being taken advantage of.
Next time someone asks to “pick your brain”, you can:
- Offer Help—On Your Terms
When an acquaintance contacts you to set up a coffee date to talk business, first get a sense of what specific questions they have . This narrows down the kind of support they’re looking for and gives you the opportunity to quickly offer help—without meeting up.
After you’re clear on what they’re asking for, you can follow up with:
“Great question! Here’s a [book/podcast/networking group] that addresses [particular topic]. Check it out—I think you’ll find it helpful!”
By politely directing them to existing material, you’re still establishing yourself as useful while protecting your time.
There are several other ways to genuinely help those who reach out to you for advice. Just because you don’t have time for a brain-picking session doesn’t mean you can’t offer your expertise in other ways.
You might say something along the lines of:
“Thanks for your question! While I’m not able to make it for coffee or lunch…”
- . here’s someone else you might consider hiring.
- . I’ll be at [event or conference] next month. I’d love to connect with you there.
- . I’d be happy to answer your most pressing question over email.
- Make your advice scalable
If you’re being hit up for informational interviews or mentorship on a certain topic, you may find yourself fielding the same questions again and again. A great approach is to make your knowledge scalable . Some examples might be creating a frequently asked questions document you can send in reply or creating canned responses in Gmail.
You might write something like this:
Thanks for reaching out. As you can imagine, I get many requests for advice so I’ve compiled all of my best tips in this Google Doc. I think you’ll find them very helpful. If there’s more information you’d like after reading this, feel free to send over two or three questions, and I’ll do my best to answer them in a timely matter. Best of luck!
You can display these same FAQs, a page of resources, or helpful templates on your website—it all depends on your niche and the types of questions you get asked most often.
- Explain how they can hire you.
Your response to those who reach out to you is all about deciding exactly how much time you’re willing to share, setting boundaries around what you will and won’t do, and—most importantly—sticking to those boundaries. If people want to pick your brain about something you get paid for doing, it’s perfectly fair and reasonable to segue into explaining how they can hire you.
Next time you get a pick-your-brain request, you could say something like:
“My work schedule is packed and lunch/coffee isn’t possible, but I could see us working together on this. When you get a chance, fill out this form [or other intake protocol you have in place]. I’ll write up a proposal, send it over and we can choose a date to get started.”
They may respond positively to this idea or they may remind you they were just hoping to have coffee and a conversation. In that case, say something along the lines of:
“Thanks for asking, but I do charge for my time and expertise. If you change your mind, I’m here!”
No matter how you handle these interactions, you may feel a little uncomfortable at first. The good news is it will feel more natural as you practice your own versions of these scripts. It’s all about creating self-honoring boundaries, respecting your worth and your work and always behaving in a way that’s diplomatic, professional and aligned with your values.
- English (US)
Thank you. So are you. (If you think that they are cool too).
- Simplified Chinese (China)
- Simplified Chinese (China)
I just say “Thanks” and move on with the conversation.
- English (US)
It normally means that they like you. It can also mean popular.
- Simplified Chinese (China)
- English (US)
Thanks! You too.
- English (US)
- English (US)
Aw, thank you! (You too!)
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- "How are you?"というあいさつは、形式的なものですか？普段、どういう風に答えていますか？ When someone say "How are you?", how do you a.
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- If I play soft music for a long time at night, will it be noisy for the sleeper?
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- Do the below sentences sound natural? If not, could you tell me the right sentences that are more.
- If I play soft music for a long time at night, will it be noisy for the sleeper?
- Hello everybody. how I ask about someone's position political ? I use the words " right" and "le.
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- what does ' make a couple grand' in this context mean? Now more than ever, I really believe eve.
- Greetings with people I'm talking with for the first time. Which do you prefer? Or are there sug.
- what should I answer with "How's your day?" "How's It going?" example plz can I say "pretty good"?
- How to respond to "I hope you are doing well"?
- If you are not the correct person, please direct me the correct one. Does this sentence sound nat.
- if someone tells you "happy easter", how to respond to that?
- Which one is correct ? "thank you for checking up on me" or "checking in on me"? And is it a pro.
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How you respond to a guy’s request to take you on a date depends on how you feel about him, whether you are interested in dating anyone at the moment and if he is your type. Your response can alter the nature of your relationship and can also send ripples through your social circle if you and the guy in question share mutual friends, acquaintances or co-workers. Being polite, considerate and honest with this guy can reflect positively on you, even if you do not intend to go on a date with him.
Be honest and open with him. A 2008 study published in the “Journal of Social and Personal Relationships” by researchers Marian Houser and Lisa Furler of Texas State University-San Marcos and Sean Horan of West Virginia University suggests that communication, both verbal and nonverbal, is valuable in predicting future dating success. If you are interested in going on a date with the guy who asked you out, respond politely by saying yes, smiling and asking where he would like to go. If you are not interested, be honest, thank him for his offer and tell him that you are not interested.
Avoid telling lies. White lies, such as “I’ve got plans with Jason that night,” or “I’m sorry, but I’m going out of town that night” may only result in him asking to see you another night. Running into the guy who asked you out after making an excuse may leave him with a bad impression of you.
Don’t be rude. If you don’t want to go on a date or pursue a relationship with the guy who asked you out, let him down kindly by stating that you are uninterested and thank him for the offer. Making fun of his gesture, calling him names or laughing are all in poor character and may reflect badly on you in your social circle. Politeness in rejection may also play a factor if you intend to interact with this person in the future. A 2010 study published in the “Journal of Social and Personal Relationships” by researchers Stephanie Tong and Joseph Walther at Michigan State University suggests that women are more polite to men they expect to meet again when refusing a date.
Don’t be afraid of coming on too strong. If you are interested in this guy and he has taken the time to ask you out, then showing enthusiasm when responding is not going to scare him off. Maintaining eye contact, touching his arm and laughing playfully show that you are interested in his advances. However, folding your arms and breaking eye contact indicate a lack of interest.
Thank him for asking you out. Whether you are interested in going out on a date or not, it takes courage to ask a girl out, and the guy who asked you thought that you were worth his effort and time.
What, if anything, do you want to know when you ask this question?
Posted April 30, 2017
What does it mean when you first see someone you know and say, “How are you?” Is it a greeting, like “hello”? Or are you actually interested in that person’s health? That depends on a number of factors:
- How well do you know this person?
- Are you just passing each other by, and you’re acknowledging them?
- Does the individual look ill or have a history of being ill?
- Do you know that there has been something troubling this person?
- Do you give the impression that you really want to know how this person is?
We have come to use this expression so often in all of the above situations that it may be difficult for others to know what our intentions are in asking the question.
Recently, we heard a story about a woman who works with a number of individuals who have very stressful jobs. She noticed that Mr. A was not looking well when he came into her office. She asked him, “How are you?” And he responded, “Fine, and you?” He gave the typical exchange of a greeting response, which really didn’t address the intent of her question. So, she asked again, “How are you?” emphasizing the “how.” She knew that he was very private and she didn’t want to intrude, but she also knew that he had been having some difficulties lately. She just wanted to let him know that someone was concerned about him. With this second inquiry, he seemed to get the point, and responded by disclosing a few details of his troubles and how he wasn’t feeling well. She listened and suggested that he consider going to a doctor to make sure he was okay. She also said that talking to someone might be helpful. He listened to her, said that he would think about it, and left after expressing a very appreciative “thank you.”
Many of us are private and reluctant to tell others about the issues that disturb us. Even when we go to the doctor, we might minimize or fail to mention problems we are having. But why? Are we afraid to be helped? Are we afraid to admit that we have problems? Do we believe that no one really cares about what we say? Are we afraid that our situation is hopeless, and we don’t want to have others confirm that?
Have you ever been in the following situation: Someone asks, “How are you?” and you answer, “Not well” or “Very sick” or something similar, and then the inquiring person responds, “Oh, that’s good,” and walks away. If this happened to you, why would you want to answer the question again from that person? Unfortunately, such scenarios occur frequently. Typically, they happen when the inquirer is not listening. This may be because they are too busy, too self-absorbed, or too afraid to intrude. Consequently, they don’t follow-up with appropriate questions or remarks, even to simply say, “I’m sorry to hear that.” And so you feel as if the inquirer really isn’t interested, which leaves you feeling sorry that you answered honestly.
Children, on the other hand, are curious, perceptive, and non-censoring. When they see someone who doesn’t look right, they’ll go right up to them and ask, “What’s wrong with you?” They want to know. They might not give good advice in response, but at least they care, and if they are old enough, they may demonstrate meaningful concern and sympathy.
We have become such a private culture that even our family and friends are often unwilling to ask us too many personal questions, or to answer them when we ask. So many of us feel reluctant to disclose too much about ourselves, particularly if it involves troubling issues. This may be due to possible repercussions:
- It would alter others’ perceptions of us.
- It may elicit pity or indifference from others.
- We may experience emotional pain when we recount our condition.
- The inquirer may be too busy or too self-absorbed to genuinely want a meaningful response, and so disclosing the information may belittle its importance.
- We may fear that the inquirer would violate our trust.
It’s a sad state of affairs when we live among others who could benefit from our care and concern, who are suffering in silence, and to whom we do not respond. Helping doesn’t only mean solving another person’s problems. We can help by demonstrating compassion and offering support and hope to others in need.
If we believe in “community,” we have to become a more empathic society. So, next time you see someone who doesn’t look good, ask them: “How are you? Really, how are you?” and be prepared to put on your “listener ears.” Simply acknowledging a person and listening to them may lift their spirits and condition, and remind them and you of the meaning and value of humanity.
We face disability, disease and mental illness together.
When people ask you what’s wrong, that’s what you say.
You say I’m tired.
Like you just didn’t get enough sleep last night. Like maybe if you get a couple extra hours tonight, or rest up this weekend, you’ll be better on Monday.
But deep down, deep beneath all the fake smiles and the jokes you make to lighten the mood, you know that’s not it.
You might be tired, yes, but you know sleep won’t fix it.
Because it’s life you’re tired of. You’re tired of people treating you like you don’t matter. You’re tired of feeling like you have no future. You’re tired of getting lost in your own head, of drowning in the thoughts and self doubts that pester you every second of every day, while you fight to keep your head above the tides.
Those same tides that threaten to wash away the makeup you carefully paint on every day so you look more like a person and less like a hollow shell of who you used to be.
Can’t they see that what you’re really tired of is pretending? How do they not notice that your porcelain smile is chipping more every day, your body armor has dents in it, your face paint is running, and the rivers in your eyes are bursting the dams you so carefully construct so as not to drown everyone around you.
“The funny part is, knowing that others felt this way helped me start to feel more awake.”
So when they ask you, “Are you OK?” you just say “I’m tired.” Because you believe it’s the only way to keep them safe as you self-destruct on the inside, the only way to protect them from the disaster that is you. You believe you have to lie so the ones you love don’t look too close.
But you’re so, so tired.
And that’s OK. If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that it’s OK to be tired sometimes. “Normal,” even. And you don’t always have to have a reason. Because sometimes just keeping it together is exhausting.
When you feel like this, it’s important to know you’re not alone. You are not the only one who feels this way. In fact, I think most people would be surprised at the number of people around them who feel the same way. I was. I started reaching out to those around me who often answered with, “I’m tired” and found out they feel a lot like I do.
And the funny part is, knowing that others felt this way helped me start to feel more awake. It’s like we all share this secret code now — when we say “tired,” we really know it means “I’m not OK.” And then we talk, and maybe cry, and sometimes we laugh. And we feel better.
So to all of you out there who feel like being tired is just the way you have to live now, I tell you this: You are all members of a club, and yes, the key to membership is kind of awful. But the plus side is you now have hundreds of allies who fight the same battle you do. You know the code word. Reach out to them. Talk to them. Accept their support. And maybe tomorrow, you won’t feel as tired.
Even though COVID-19 infection rates and hospitalizations are declining across the country, some gray area and potential danger remains: Fifty percent of U.S. adults have been fully vaccinated , which is a remarkable achievement and a sign of impending normality, but a high share of adults remain hesitant or outright opposed to vaccination . The lingering possibility of infection remains strong for those who haven’t received their jabs.
Any way you slice it, there’s a fair amount of gray area concerning when to wear masks, whether by the CDC’s guidelines or those set by independent businesses. I, for example, continue to mask in any bodega or gas station I enter, even though I technically don’t have to, according to both the CDC and my local bodega’s rules. For me, it’s about making others feel safe, largely because nobody has any idea whether I’m immunized (outside of some hypothetical vaccine passport issued by the government).
As the pandemic continues to wane, you might find yourself with an unmasked person, curious about whether they’ve been vaccinated or if they just care less than you about safety. Here’s how you might consider it appropriate to ask about someone’s vaccination status, and when it’s definitely not a good idea to wade so deep into another’s personal territory.
How to ask someone if they’ve been vaccinated
If it’s your home, then by all means
If someone is coming over to your place for the first time since the world was knocked off its axis by COVID, then you should feel comfortable to ask about their vaccine status. It’s your personal space, after all, and if you’re doing something indoors, unmasked, it only makes sense that you’d inquire about it.
This topic contains 11 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by Dex 5 months, 3 weeks ago.
Hello just a quick question, i’ve been to numerous datig website and this same old question is always the topic.
What should i say when a guy asks me : what are you searching for on this website ? Or why are you there ?
I feel like if i say i’m looking for something serious that they totally freak out taking it personally like i was saying : i want a serious relationship with you or the first person i agree to see in flesh.
Or if i just say i just wanna meet new people etc its not enough precise and my goal is to bust people who just want sex so how should i say things clearly ? I dont want one night stands and want to find a serious relationship without scaring them off away
Cara I think short and simple is best if your responding via email/text. When you meet the guy most likely the question will come up again…then you can go into more detail if needed.
“I am looking for someone I can spend quality time with and hopefully develop into something more serious.”
“I am looking for someone who shares the same passions I do and wants similar things out of life…like a serious relationship.”
I am looking for someone who is honest, caring and is looking for a serious relationship.”
I don’t think these answers would scare a guy away and if it does then you know he wasn’t looking for something serious.
I once had on my profile I was looking to have fun with someone so of course I had to change that!
I tell guys this: I’m looking to making a connection that will hopefully turn into something serious.
If a guy gets freaked out by that he’s not someone worth your time anyways.
You will not scare a good serious guy away if you tell them what you are looking for. Only flakes will flee, which would be a good thing.
Both men and women respect it when a person knows what they want and make conscious efforts at getting it. There is nothing wrong about wanting a serious relationship, this does not mean you are going to jump into it instantly. So it all depends on how you phrase it but it is very important to be direct about what you want. Depending on your age, I would even go as far as to say that if you are not looking for the same things then I’d appreciate it you move along and don’t waste my time (well, say it differently, but this is the essence of things).
Most men do look for serious relationships as well, but in the process many of them don’t mind getting laid here and there, spend a month or three with different women, but women get emotionally involved and waste their time and feelings on such men.
If you screen guys very diligently at the very beginning, very early on, your chances of finding what you want without emotional damage would be much better. You might not go on as many dates, but the dates you’d have would be of higher quality.
I agree with Maria. These guys are running because they don’t want serious. That’s a good thing. It saves your time! Never be scared to say what you want.
A guy looking for something serious will not get “freaked out” only ones who aren’t which is what you want so you don’t waste your time. I’ve always told guys right off the bat I am looking to get married & they’ve all thought it was great, none have gotten “weirded out” because if they have any sense lol they know it doesn’t mean necessarily with them, next week haha it means just what the question asks: what are you looking for in your romantic life.
Most mature men, will be honest with you in what they are looking for too. Everyone is open to looking until someone grabs their attention. That’s what dating is! Some people expect the very next person to settle down though lol that’s what’s freaking the men out these days too. Not saying that’s you but they are out there. This is what I said on my profile when I tried online dating. Something along these lines
“I am open to meeting someone where things can evolve and grow into whatever possibilities that may lead to.”
Then if we ever make it past the first date and we both like each other, and when asked further what I am wanting. I tell them that marriage and children are part of my future wants.
Everything what Maria said too.
Just be honest. I agree with the others. I would often state qualities l was looking for in a man -…lm looking for a man who is a good match for me, emotionally intelligent, masculine yet not overly dominant (bossy!) I also stated l was dating to meet a man who interested me, someone l wanted to get to know more. Inwas looking for a partner in ‘crime’ (always be light hearted and fun!) But ultimately l.was ready for a relationship which was right for me!
I weeded out hundreds – and yes didn’t have many dates – but the ones l did have were excellent, and in less than 2 months l found my current chap – 10 months in all is going well, and one of the qualities he likes most about me is the fact that l know what l want and won’t settle for less.
Put it out there what you want – scaredy cats need not apply. Lol
Okay to be totally honest, when I start chatting with a guy online and one of his first questions is “what are you looking for?”, this is a huge red flag for me. Almost always this means he is just looking for casual sex. I think if he were really interested in me as a person there would be more interesting icebreaker questions to ask first, rather than trying to immediately hone in on how fast he can get me to sleep with him (which is EXACTLY what “what are you looking for?” is code for) I also get kind of offended that I’m required to label what I want ahead of time without even knowing the guy. I also love love love what Maria wrote. That is the confident and assertive approach.
I don’t go into details because he might be looking for a blueprint to be exactly what I want to reel me in. Narcissists or abusers do this. Anything about looking to make a connection with the right person and seeing where it goes should suffice
1st off I don’t like online dating and have only ever dated or talked to folks I met IRL. So maybe these rules don’t apply. BUT-
I actually had a guy ask me this, one who was just very present and persistent and obviously interested, and it was because he was actually interested in the “whole thing”- he wanted a serious 1:1 relationship, wanted a new life partner, definitely wanted to get married etc. how do I know this? Because he literally told me- he had asked me this over text after 2 dates, I think because at that point I knew I didn’t want him and had refused to accept a 3rd date (kept blowing him off), so then he asked. I didn’t respond so he just double-texted and told me what he was looking for. Point being, trying to share a positive story with you that there ARE men out there who want someone to share their life with, which hopefully will be good news to some of y’all out there. Definitely agree with Khadija- bottom line, if a guy “freaks out” over anything you say (seriously), especially early on,
NEXT! Because he sure ain’t worth your time. I can elaborate more on this if you wish with examples, just lmk! good luck and ALWAYS BE OKAY BY YOURSELF FIRST, before you even think about adding a man to your life. If you’re feeling needy you need to stop with the men and instead work on yourself.
Many religious theists, especially Christians, will ask for people’s prayers and express hopes for a miracle when they experience significant problems in their lives (such as illness and injury, for example). Other Christians will normally respond by promising to pray and actually doing so at some point, asking God for miracles and divine intervention. Atheists obviously can’t give the same response because atheists don’t pray at all, much less for a miracle from God. So how can atheists respond?
How to Respond
There's probably no good answer to this because every option carries risks and chances for causing serious offense. At the very least, atheists will have to proceed carefully and will have to tailor their approach to each individual situation. They can't respond to such a request from a mother or brother in the same way they might respond to such a request from a coworker or neighbor.
If you want to cause offense, or simply don’t care whether you do or not, then you can basically respond however you want. You can tell them that you’re an atheist, don’t pray, don’t believe in prayer, don’t believe in miracles, and recommend that people place more confidence in science, reason, and being active in search of solutions rather than prayer or gods. They probably won’t trouble you with such requests or much else thereafter. Yet other than this, what have you accomplished?
Assuming that you don't want to cause any offense, you're options are very limited. Telling the bare truth, even in the most careful and respectful way, isn't what people want to hear. Fortunately, many probably also don't need to necessarily hear that you will be praying for any sort of miracle. In many cases people are more likely looking for sympathy and emotional support—they want to know that people are thinking about them and care enough to hope that things turn out well for them.
There's nothing wrong with that, but some don't know of any other way to make such a request except to ask for people to pray for them. Perhaps it sounds selfish to simply ask for support, but not to ask for prayers. Asking for sympathy and support may make a person feel even more vulnerable than they already are in their pain. If you care enough, you may be able to help them with this pain that is causing them to reach out.
What You Can Do
You can't pray for or with them, but you can express how much you care about them, how much you want things to improve for them and promise to be there for them in their time of need. Robert Green Ingersoll said that "The hands that help are better far than the lips that pray" and he was right. If you agree with him, then you should act like it. You can't and won't pray, but this doesn't mean that you can't do anything at all. At the very least, you can make sure you don't forget about them in your busy life and try to keep in contact with them, letting them know that you are still thinking about them.
You may also be able to do more in some cases. You could bring them food if things are so stressful that they can't always prepare decent meals themselves now. You could offer to bring them other things they need or to transport them places they need to go. Again, you’ll need to tailor your response to each individual situation. If you want them to know that you care and that you support them, you can find ways to do so other than prayer.