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View Full Version : "Hello! How are you?" - do you really care?



butterfly
01-23-2013, 05:03 PM
Do you? Do you think they do?

Are they really asking for attention for themselves or do they truly want to know?

And a little deeper - do you like people or do you prefer the company of yourself, your pet, or your stuffed Lorax?

Yeah, it's one of those days so feel free to ignore if you're happy at the moment.

AshleyEpidemic
01-23-2013, 05:21 PM
I always answer with exactly how I feel, though many people will just say fine since it is a nicety. As for if people really care, again it is a nicety and most people don't. On the rare chance I do say it, I mean it.

People drive me nutty, even my boyfriend. I love a good escape where I can watch tv or play video games with my cat attacking my feet. I wouldn't say I hate people.

Putputt
01-23-2013, 05:24 PM
Who's this "they" you refer to?

If you mean friends, yeah, I guess they care. I care too.

If you mean people working at cafes or supermarket checkouts...no, I don't think they care. Nothing wrong with that. If you want cheerful cashiers, Trader Joe's usually has bubbly cashiers. They make me smile every friggin' time I go there.

I like people. I also like my own company...or I guess I should say I like the company of books. If I didn't have books around I'd rather be hanging out with my friends.

Hmm, sorry, my answer's neither here nor there. :D

Maze Runner
01-23-2013, 05:38 PM
Do you? Do you think they do?

Are they really asking for attention for themselves or do they truly want to know?

And a little deeper - do you like people or do you prefer the company of yourself, your pet, or your stuffed Lorax?

Yeah, it's one of those days so feel free to ignore if you're happy at the moment.

Well, another bout of insomnia last night, this morning, so no, not in the best mood, yet. But since I've given up the idea of sleep for today, the coffee is brewing and... hey I'll give Wednesday a shot.

'How are you' can be a sincere question or not, depending on whom you're talking to, and that's comin or goin. I don't think that means we don't care though, we do; but who has time to do anything about the answer either way?

I like people. I empathize with them, being one of them, more or less. But that doesn't mean I want to spend time with them.

Actually, sometimes I can't get enough of them, in number or in hours.

Other times I don't want to know from no one or nothin'. I got my own problems, you know.

French Maiden
01-23-2013, 05:55 PM
Do you? Do you think they do?

Are they really asking for attention for themselves or do they truly want to know?


For people I know care I usually answer with 'Yeah, not too bad thanks.' out of force of habbit. Then It takes me about 1/4 of a second to realise it's always a lie, I then go back to correct myself with my true feelings.

If it's someone I know doesnt care and they're just being nice/professional I just say 'Fine thanks, what about yourself?'




And a little deeper - do you like people or do you prefer the company of yourself, your pet, or your stuffed Lorax?

Yeah, it's one of those days so feel free to ignore if you're happy at the moment.

I prefer my own company and that of my husky x bull mastiff.

Maze Runner
01-23-2013, 05:58 PM
By the way, Butterfly, how are you? :D

shadowwalker
01-23-2013, 06:08 PM
Yeah, it depends on who's asking, and even with friends, whether we meet on the street or are sitting down for coffee. Sometimes it's just pleasantries, sometimes it's an actual inquiry.

I prefer my own company most of the time - or should I say, I prefer not to be around other people most of the time. I think that's mainly because I'm not good with small talk at all; give me an 'issue' to discuss and I'm fine.

Jamesaritchie
01-23-2013, 06:16 PM
Yes, I care. I think most other people care, as well. I do think that if you want others to really care about how you feel, you have to first care about them.

Anyway, I love solitude, and have spent months alone, way out in the middle of nowhere. I've gone a month without hearing another human voice. I do like having a dog with me, though.

But I also love the company of good people. I love spending time with family and friends, but I also love spending time with strangers, and I go to many places where I can meet new people. I go to county fairs, restaurants, bars, all sorts of odds groups that meet at the library, shooting ranges, outdoor festivals, anywhere I can meet new people.

How else is a writer going to find things to write about? How else is a writer going to learn how other people live, think, feel, and believe?

Buffysquirrel
01-23-2013, 06:27 PM
I still remember my mother explaining to me, when I was a child, that when people ask how you are, they don't really want to know.

quickWit
01-23-2013, 06:30 PM
"Hey, how are you?" is basically like saying "Hi" to me. It's more a reflex than anything. Not that I don't care, I just don't think about it.

onesecondglance
01-23-2013, 06:31 PM
I still remember my mother explaining to me, when I was a child, that when people ask how you are, they don't really want to know.

Ditto. Generally it's a politeness reflex. I do the same thing.

bearilou
01-23-2013, 06:33 PM
I still remember my mother explaining to me, when I was a child, that when people ask how you are, they don't really want to know.

Yeah. Same here.

When I ask, I do really care. And if the person responding is honest, I try my level best to be supportive and kind if it's to the negative and always try to smile for them.

I know better than to believe others really care if they ask me, though.

Most of the time I really prefer solitude. I don't mind social interaction but my druthers are for it to be on my own time and conditions, which is, I guess, selfish. Friends and family relationships do require some reciprocity so I do try to make time for them when they want/need it as well. I do have my boundaries firmly set, though, and do stick by them stringently.

Becky Black
01-23-2013, 06:58 PM
With most people I'll just say "fine". It's not really a serious question, just a way into the conversation. If it's a friend they might actually want to know, but even then I'm sure most of them only want something general, not details! (Save that for when I go to the doctor!)

If it's some damn cold calling salesperson who's trying to create the impression that we're all good buddies by asking I just ignore the question and ask them to tell me what they're calling for. Don't encourage them, I say. They don't want to know and I don't want to tell them, so move on!

Though I definitely one day want to come back with "Well the chemo is really kicking my arse today." or "So much better since they took me leg off." That'd dent their false cheeriness. ;)

Do I like people? Well, in moderation.

Buffysquirrel
01-23-2013, 07:08 PM
Do I like people? That's a tough question. No, not really, not in general. There are some individuals I care about. But I get very uptight when people are harmed. Species loyalty? Maybe.

I prefer the company of my husband and my cat. If I had a horse the husband might lose out.

veinglory
01-23-2013, 07:09 PM
Polite but shallow questions are called 'phatic comunication' (a.k.a. small talk), and it has a function in keeping large communities in a positive mode of interaction.

Kallithrix
01-23-2013, 07:51 PM
Polite but shallow questions are called 'phatic comunication' (a.k.a. small talk), and it has a function in keeping large communities in a positive mode of interaction.

Hmmm. Doesn't make me feel very positive. When I ring someone in another office at work, and I say 'hi so and so, how are you?' It's simply going through the motions of polite conversation before I make their life hell with my demands. But it annoys me that I have to do it, because the answer is always 'I'm fine thanks.You?' Then I have to say 'Yeah I'm fine thanks' back before I get to the point of the conversation, and we just wasted thirty seconds of our lives on stuff we didn't feel like saying and that got us precisely nowhere.

I'd rather just say 'hi so and so, I need such and such. Can you do it by COB today? Great. thanks.' *click*

Job done.

Yeah, small talk irritates me. I'm irritated now just thinking about it. But that's probably because I use up all my small talk on the bunneh. I'll talk nonsense to him for hours, asking him all kinds of questions about what he's doing and how he's feeling, because he never turns round and says 'I'm fine thanks, you?'

Usually he just says 'shuttit woman and give me treats.'

Brightdreamer
01-23-2013, 08:15 PM
How to Tell Someone How You're Doing (Basic Instructions, by Scott Meyer) (http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2008/4/21/how-to-tell-someone-how-you-are-doing.html)

In answer to the OP's question: Unless the person asking is a parent or medical practitioner, no, they don't really need or even want to know how you, in fact, "are." (Possible exception for philosophers... but that's a whole 'nother can of existential worms...)

JimmyB27
01-23-2013, 08:58 PM
Who was it that said "I'd rather hear a fake 'Have a nice day' than a sincere 'Fuck off and die'"?

cray
01-23-2013, 09:08 PM
i care.


i care about each and every one of you and sincerely want to know how you are doing and rainbows and puppies and butterfly kisses!



blurve,

cray

KellyAssauer
01-23-2013, 11:11 PM
... if you're happy at the moment.


:Clap:



i care.
i care about each and every one of you and sincerely want to know how you are doing and rainbows and puppies and butterfly kisses!


http://www.sherv.net/cm/emoticons/sick/vomit-into-the-toilet.gif

[IMG]http://www.sherv.net/vomit.toilet-emoticon-686.html]http://www.sherv.net/cm/emoticons/sick/vomit-into-the-toilet.gif

mccardey
01-23-2013, 11:23 PM
Do you? Do you think they do?.

Deeply




Yeah, it's one of those days so feel free to ignore if you're happy at the moment.

Have a nice day.




ETA: :Hug2:

ETA2: No, really - :Hug2:

;)

Ambrosia
01-24-2013, 12:28 AM
It depends on the person asking. If I ask, it depends on the person I am asking and the occasion. I have had waitresses ask me and I have answered them honestly, because we have enough of a relationship to have a brief conversation about how our lives are going. I have had friends ask and I have told them I am "fine", because they weren't really asking. I have also answered "fine" with friends and they knew I wasn't fine because I used f.i.n.e., which they know stands for "eff'd up, insecure, neurotic, and emotional". I am 99.9% dead-on knowing the difference between a legitimate "how are you" and a social "how are you", as I read people very well face-to-face. (Online is a whole different situation because there is no body language to go on.)

Like many here, I prefer my own company and the company of my animals over the company of others. It's that whole introvert thing. I hate small talk with a passion and avoid parties because of it. It makes me want to tear my hair out and strangle the person who is trying to engage me in it. I have developed the ability to do it for those occasions when I must attend a function where small talk will be expected. But it drains me and I loathe it. That said, I have increased my social engagements because I have found that as much as I am a "loner", I still need human interaction. I once thought I could be a hermit. But I find after several weeks the tree bark's conversation starts to make sense and I really need to get out and hear a human talk again. ;)

onesecondglance
01-24-2013, 12:55 AM
I am quite a misanthrope, but part of my job involves liaising with people in different companies. Good relationships are crucial, and a simple "how's the weather with you?" goes a long way.

No, I don't particularly care about the answer, but as was said above, it's a lot nicer than "fuck off and die".

dkamin
01-24-2013, 01:00 AM
The "Hi, how are you?" question I've shrugged off as a formality unless it comes from family or friends. It's just a remnant left over from the days when that question really meant something.

And for the other question, I generally prefer being alone (don't most writers?) with the exception of a few close people.

Buffysquirrel
01-24-2013, 01:08 AM
I definitely found when working in local government that making small talk with people on the phone--and, especially, remembering things about them like their names, and the fact they had children, or they'd been ill, or some other small personal detail--meant they were much more willing to help me when I needed help. So small talk is not redundant, methinks.

Ol' Fashioned Girl
01-24-2013, 01:28 AM
Generally, people have to earn my hatred. Generally.

But when I ask 'how are you?', I do want to know. If I don't care, I don't ask.

cray
01-24-2013, 01:51 AM
how you doin'??? :e2brows: :e2brows: :e2brows:

kenthepen
01-24-2013, 02:04 AM
I like to throw strangers off balance, like grocery store clerks and waitresses, who make small talk as a matter of routine. I like giving them an off-the-wall answer, just to see if anyone's home in there. I get more smiles than blank stares.

note: my kids are used to this and suffer in stoic silence

butterfly
01-24-2013, 03:36 AM
By the way, Butterfly, how are you? :D

Much better now, thank you!


I still remember my mother explaining to me, when I was a child, that when people ask how you are, they don't really want to know.

I believe that "hello" has now become "hellohowareyou?" and people just say it because they feel that "hello" is simply not enough.


I definitely found when working in local government that making small talk with people on the phone--and, especially, remembering things about them like their names, and the fact they had children, or they'd been ill, or some other small personal detail--meant they were much more willing to help me when I needed help. So small talk is not redundant, methinks.

Agreed. But these are people you deal will intermittently and it's freer to be phone-caring than real life caring - it has an end.


Generally, people have to earn my hatred. Generally.QUOTE]

I just love how you worded this.

[QUOTE=cray;7903751]how you doin'??? :e2brows: :e2brows: :e2brows:
lol - is this Joey?

Maze Runner
01-24-2013, 04:08 AM
Sorry, carry on

Silver King
01-24-2013, 05:27 AM
Who was it that said "I'd rather hear a fake 'Have a nice day' than a sincere 'Fuck off and die'"?
It could've been me! That's the way I feel also, anyway.

I'm not sure what the beef is here with common, everyday pleasantries. What are you supposed to say when you cross paths with people? Nothing? Just look away and act like they don't exist? Even the strangest of strangers deserve to be acknowledged when we interact with them.

I'll tell you what I don't like: When I try to use common, everyday pleasantries with people and they say nothing and look away as if I don't exist. Well screw them and their lofty, misguided sense of self-worth. What I usually say then, with meaning, is, Sorry I asked.

And I am, truly, sorry that I wasted my breath on someone who couldn't appreciate a kind word regardless where it came from.

L. Y.
01-24-2013, 05:39 AM
Do you? Do you think they do?
Sure I do. I wouldn't ask if not. And if others are doing it to be polite...well, I appreciate their efforts at being pleasant.



BTW: Hello SK. How are you? :)

Cliff Face
01-24-2013, 05:46 AM
Mmm, I don't mind the "Hey, how you doing today?" schtick, whether people care about the answer or not. I tend to try to be polite in all situations, so yeah, that might explain it.

When I worked in retail, most people answered with "Fine, how are you?" and the like, which didn't mean anything apart from "I don't feel like talking about it," usually. Some people's voice inflections indicated that they did care that I asked, even if their answer didn't lead to a proper conversation, and that would generally brighten my day. (Working a register for 8 hours can suck, y'know? You take what you can get.)

I had one woman who told me, "I hate that phrase!" and acted like I'd slapped her or something... But that was one person in a busy shop for 5 months.

I don't especially get anything out of pleasantries, but I don't hate them either. When a more in-depth conversation starts up, I tend to enjoy that more.

As for liking people... I'm an introvert. I don't necessarily hate everyone, but once I'm angry about one thing, I get angry about other small things. Not that I'd ever voice that anger - polite, remember? - but it can make me dislike the social situation I'm in.

I think I actually enjoy talking to friendly, non-psychopath strangers more than to people I've known for years. As much as I'm set in my ways, a new experience here or there goes a long way to reinvigorating my mood.

All that said, I could happily spend an entire week without seeing another living soul, I think. Never had the chance to test that theory, but yeah... I am an introvert, and if I really need to talk to someone, there's always AW. :D

Silver King
01-24-2013, 06:18 AM
BTW: Hello SK. How are you? :)
I'm doing okay, Lance, thanks for asking.

How are you doing these days?

(See how easy that exchange was to pull off? Now perhaps Lance doesn't really care, deep down, about my well-being, but that's not the point of our interaction. He acknowledged my presence in a friendly manner, and I in turn asked after his welfare as a form of pleasantry that might, or might not, lead to further discussion. Either way, we connected for a brief moment that enriched our lives far more than if we'd ignored each other.)

swachski
01-24-2013, 06:37 AM
I believe in paying it forward. Even if I'm not in the best mood, I try to project a positive attitude. It makes people feel better... then hopefully they'll be kinder to the next person they interact with.

Wicked
01-24-2013, 06:37 AM
What are you supposed to say when you cross paths with people?



Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

It's also a great ice breaker.

swachski
01-24-2013, 06:44 AM
You have to say it in that sexy Spanish accent too, right Wicked? ;)

Wicked
01-24-2013, 06:46 AM
You have to say it in that sexy Spanish accent too, right Wicked? ;)


The accent is crucial. :D They'll know you don't mean it if you say it without the accent.

BeatrixKiddo
01-24-2013, 06:57 AM
For some reason, I tend to answer their question with the same question. So, neither of us completely answers each other. (I get caught off guard easily by people asking me stuff apparently)

If I do actually answer, I'll just say "good", even if I'm having a Hellish day.

Buffysquirrel
01-24-2013, 05:38 PM
I've had so much shit poured into my ears down the phone over the years that I try not to do that to other people. The sole source of my politeness, probably!

KellyAssauer
01-24-2013, 06:43 PM
I don't mind people asking me 'How are you' or 'How you doin'?' - but they do look at me funneh when I answer because I almost always answer with 'I dunno...' which is almost always the truth.

I mean, if they are actually sincere when they ask, and want a real answer - then they're asking me to stop and think about it.

I don't like to stop and think about how I'm doing... it's time consuming, and usually somewhat depressing.

Now, yes... I get it, they're often just being 'polite', but now I have to polite back. I really don't want to be forced to lie out my arse and say 'Oh, I'm fine and you' because that big of a falsehood doesn't sit right with me at all...

So I'm kinda stuck with 'I dunno'
or just avoiding people...

:Shrug:

kenthepen
01-24-2013, 06:54 PM
I think that you think that I think you're overthinking it.

If it's too bothersome, you can always anwer with a "None of your fucking business" and even throw in an "asshole" if you want.

Maybe you just need to work in front of a mirror on your "I'm a misanthrope" face, and so avert the issue.

My Dad had a great look, developed by several formative years in jail(seriously) that I learned to do also. At the very least it cuts down on the number of responses you have to make.

p.s.- I hardly ever use that look anymore.

KellyAssauer
01-24-2013, 07:21 PM
It's not over thinking, it's just being a writer. Being a writer has it's drawbacks because there's an editor that lives in my head.

I don't know what person-x is asking when they ask 'How are you' because it's such a vastly wide-ranging and terribly ambiguous question.

and being rude is never an option for me.

Come to think of it, I do kinda miss those days when the side of my head was shaved and cornstarch held my Mohawk, and I could don my biker jacket and studded boots and walk the length of the mall watching the masses part in front of me...

I got tons fewer ambiguous questions then.

swachski
01-24-2013, 07:24 PM
Come to think of it, I do kinda miss those days when the side of my head was shaved and cornstarch held my Mohawk, and I could don my biker jacket and studded boots and walk the length of the mall watching the masses part in front of me...

I got tons fewer ambiguous questions then.

I just did that last weekend! It was liberating..

kenthepen
01-24-2013, 07:26 PM
If their manner of asking makes intention unclear, you are thus liberated to interpret as you wish....