Why do people ask how you are?

Discussion in 'I Have a Question...' started by Athnys, Sep 20, 2011.

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  1. Athnys

    Athnys Well-Known Member

    I always say "I'm okay."

    I don't think they want to know how I really feel.

    "Oh, I'm just contemplating suicide again. I'm distressed about my employment prospects, my college debt, and the unlikelihood of me ever getting married or becoming a Catholic priest. How are you?"

    I'd rather not lie to anyone, but they don't want to hear something like that.
  2. nolonger

    nolonger Well-Known Member

    Just stupid social customs. They don't really care what you say. As long as it's "Alright, you?"

    Kinda like when someone over here says "how ya goin?", it's pretty much another way of saying "Hi." lol.
  3. total eclipse

    total eclipse SF Friend Staff Alumni

    It is hard to tell someone you don't trust how you feel. I hope with family and friends you can tell them how worried you are hun I hope you can talk to a councillor so you don't keep all those thoughts bottle up inside hugs
  4. pppqp

    pppqp Well-Known Member

    LOL. That's right. No one really wants to know how you are. But being too honest with random people you'll end up being even more depressed.
  5. Daijou

    Daijou Well-Known Member

    Whenever someone asks me how I am, I usually reply with "I've been better." I used to go with the whole I'll be fine response, but I get so tired of lying all the time, and by saying I've been better, feels a little closer to home. Very few people have ever asked a follow up question to my answer however..

    The truth is, like someone already stated, it's essentially just a greeting. Usually when someone asks it, if not someone close to you, they aren't actually asking how you're feeling, they're just saying hello or breaking the ice. It also makes people look a bit more caring despite the fact that they don't care one way or the other how most people are doing. But such is the society so many of us live in..
  6. Athnys

    Athnys Well-Known Member

    I worry that if I say "I've been better," they'll either want to know why or think that I'm a chronic complainer.
  7. Daijou

    Daijou Well-Known Member

    Part of me says it because I want someone to actually confront me and ask what's wrong. I don't have enough courage to come out and say how I truly feel inside, so sometimes I hope that someone will catch it and dig deep enough. Unfortunately for me, the entirety of the people I deal with day to day don't actually care enough to bother. No matter how I answer it, it's essentially just like saying hello back to them.
  8. cloudy

    cloudy Well-Known Member

    because its an automatic response. people get into the habit of doing that. sometimes it is their job to ask you how you are.
  9. the masked depressant

    the masked depressant Well-Known Member

    don't get me started on this one... this really anoysme.

    you can tell them the truth and say oh i'm not feeling that great, and then get ignored- or you can tell them you're fine, but then they will ask you if something's wrong.

    so you can't really win.

    it's 1 thing that really anoys me

    sometimes i just want to go up to someone and just punch them

    even my own family don't care about me- and the amount of conflict that causes sometimes sheesh!
  10. spiritxfade

    spiritxfade Well-Known Member

    Agreed. People don't actually care that much when they ask "how are you?" So I don't tell them I'm not okay either.
  11. Illusion

    Illusion Well-Known Member

    Exactly. I usually tell people that I'm alright, okay, or so-so cause I never feel like pouring my emotions out to anyone. I don't like being viewed as a sympathy tool so I try to seem alright.
    Nowadays it shows in my face though that I'm not alright. Its a lot easier faking it on the computer than in person for me.
  12. peacelovingguy

    peacelovingguy Well-Known Member

    I ask because I care.

    Some people may not have anyone to speak to - live alone - so on - and if I ask them how they are doing - many DO pour the heart out a little - most reply by reciprocating the concern for health.

    If I was at a bus stop and a stranger was there - I'd say hello - and would ask "How are you doing?" - or "How us it going?

    If someone said "I feel like dying mate"

    I might say

    "Woman, football, work or impotency?"

    And maybe we'd go the pub or something.

    In my area everyone asks how you are - actually I get asked about all my extended family - neighbours - and so on - I live in a community - a real one - some people live in places which are less friendly.

    Well - of course - I always answer in a positive - even if I am thinking that I wished I was dead part 5948373.

    But that's me - you don't want to know why I want to die - because I don't know myself - maybe its just my hair - or I feel bad because O cannot connect with people anymore.

    Keep missing them when I try to connect.

    I got anger issues also - society makes me angry - wasps make me angry - annoying people make me annoyed - but less annoyed than they are by the time they have finished with me.

    I'll often tell people I'm angry - that's a safe one. I mean to say anyone here would feel comfortable with saying "I'd like to nuke the world".

    Anyhow - if I ask you how you are - no need to lie!

    Tell people your angry - ear-wig them - bash their ears a little!

    They asked - lol

    Lets share the anger.

    I mean - you could literally reply (to how are you?) by saying...

    "How am I? I'm angry - I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take any sh** any more"

    You can then grab the surprised person by the collar - for dramatic effect shake them and shout "Choose freedom bro" - then run away fast.

    Or if someone asks how you are - get philosophical on them - and tell them you are alone and yet connected - your searching for something that may well already have found you - and so on...

    One man I know has a habit (when drink) of licking peoples ears when they ask how he is - or even acknowledge him.

    Not something I'd advise - and sure - the guys been slapped a few times by strangers who don't know him or what he is doing - some see it as a obvious move - being hit on - but its not like that - he is not gay - and how many gay people sit about licking random guys ears - er, well, take the 5th amendment if you want!

    Am i losing it?

    Not sure how we go to the ears - oh yes - people asking you how you are.

    Most are just trying to be nice - so if you have depression try not to be so down on that - I was ruthless at one time for jumping on nice comments and - wow - O was an asshole at one time.

    Yes - your thinking "what does he mean - one time!"

    Anyway - how are you doing? - lol

    See ya.
  13. Growing Pains

    Growing Pains Well-Known Member

    I think the logic behind it depends on how well the person knows you - if at all - and how close you are.

    For many, it's just a social norm. You see someone you sort of know and to strike up conversation, you say "How are you?" or some variation of it. In the "social norm" situation, I just brush it off with a simple "Fine" or "I've been better". Sometimes they ask me what's wrong, sometimes they don't. I don't mind when they don't, because I rarely give an answer regardless.

    However, if it's someone that knows me well and is close to me, I feel they ask because they genuinely want to know. It's a way to know what's going on with people you may not see often and even sometimes, people that you do. There are very few people I'll tell the truth to when they ask me how I am. And those very few actually do listen. And it works vice versa.

    I'm lying a little, though. Because I don't tell the complete truth. I'm not sure anyone would feel comfortable if I told them some of the things I've contemplated. But if my one good friend (who lives quite a while away, ouch) asks how I am and I'm not doing well, I'll tell her. Because she tells me when she's not.

    It only bugs me when random strangers ask. It's like, it's become a knee jerk reaction for some people. Speak to a person for one second and ask how they are. The only proper response in such cases seems to be "Fine" because I'm not going to tell a complete stranger that I'm not.

    The visual image of that made me laugh. :tongue:
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