National Campaign to Halt the Use of “How Are You?” as a Greeting


First, often the person asking doesn’t really care.

Second, often there is no time to answer, because the so-called greeting occurs when two people are crossing paths. By the time the askee can answer, the asker is long gone. Furthermore, the askee does not then have the opportunity to return the courtesy by asking how the asker is.

Third, given the first reason, if there IS time to answer, it often creates dishonestly. If the askee is doing poorly, a lie must be constructed due to the knowledge that the asker is not interested. No matter how bad life is, the askee has to say “I’m fine.” Or, the askee must be ready with a routine answer to the question that mostly evades the question, and the routine answer is often a cliche:

  • Hangin’ in there.
  • Any day above ground is a good day.
  • I’ll feel better when it’s Friday.

I say we stamp out this infernal practice. There are plenty of ways to greet someone without resorting to insincere inquiries.

As soon as I have enough energy to take a shower, I’m gearing up.

4 thoughts on “National Campaign to Halt the Use of “How Are You?” as a Greeting

  1. JPed

    Does this also entail eliminating all variants of “What’s goin’ on?” and “Wassup dawggg?” I’m not sure how I feel about that….

  2. Si

    Hmmm, “how are you” has been around much longer than “wassup dawggg?”, and the later is a variant of the former. So, is “how are you” no longer a question either? No matter, it’s annoying as all get out. Perhaps we could start the campaign with interventions. When asked, “How are you,” in the insincere, we can answer with, “Hi” or one of its variants. The way when people ask, “Is it a boy or a girl” one of my friends says, “I haven’t decided yet.” You know, to diffuse the whole Gender Is All thing we have going.

    One story: I bumped into one of my professors in the hall. The sort of professor one has coffee with to sort out one’s brain from time to time. A friend, though not of one’s heart. He asks, “How are you,” and I took a breath, and he said, “I mean that in the most insincere way.” Which was his sense of humor, and honest, and at which point I noticed he was in a fluster of hurry, so I smiled. So, you know, some honesty there.

  3. The Princess

    Length of time in existence is not as much a factor as usage. “How are you” is a still a question, used often in other contexts with the expectation of an answer. To the best of my knowledge, “Wassup dawggg?” is routinely treated as “hello.”

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