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Wow! Someone Asked Me How I Was And Actually Meant It

There are certain phrases that we all say and really don’t mean. “How are you?” is probably the one that is most frequently used without real feeling involved. It’s not that we are mean or empty – it’s just become part of our culture to start off a conversation this way.

How are you?

I’m fine and you?

Been there – done that… a ga-zillion times. Yesterday afternoon, someone asked me how I was and ACTUALLY meant it. I saw it in her eyes and heard it in the inflection of her voice. And it startled me. I paused for just a moment – not long enough for her to really notice, and I actually thought about answering honestly.

How am I?

But I watched her for just a moment longer and decided that I really didn’t want to tell her how I was. So I said what I always say.

I’m fine and you?

I wonder what would have happened if I did a major brain dump on her at that moment. How am I? Well, let me start at the beginning.

But that’s not how we play this game, right? That’s not how we act among acquaintances and new friends. We smile. We hide. We act as if.

How are you? I’m fine.


What do you think about how loosely we throw around “how are you”? Do you ever notice that you say it but don’t mean it? Imagine if everyone REALLY answered truthfully!? Wonder if we would say it as much? LOL

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Vera Sweeney, mom, blogger, social media influencer and New York resident, is the founder of LadyAndTheBlog.com. She is considered one of the top female digital influencers in today’s social media space. Her lifestyle and parenting brand helps busy women stay on top of the latest trends in fashion, food, family and travel.


  1. I know just what you mean, and I’ve been actively trying to remember to say to people, “I’m so glad to see you.” instead of asking how they are. I don’t always remember, but I like when I do.

  2. Great post, Vera. I answer truthfully from time to time…I’ll say “I’m not doing so hot – how are you?” or “Totally crappy – how are you?”…..if the question is asked I’ll stop the game from time to time and say exactly what I think. It usually leads to laughter which can cheer both parties up.

  3. I have a friend who always asks like she means it and it gives me a start every single time.

  4. I mean it every, single, time. When I ask, I truly want to know “How are YOU?” For reals ;).

    What I don’t like is when people ask me and don’t really care for the answer. If I say, “I’m crappy” whether it be if I’m sick, or had a rough day, etc, they usually change the subject, lol.

  5. Nikki @ Mommy Factor : December 10, 2010 at 4:52 am

    It’s a weird thing. I use to answer the “how am I” question honestly but I found nit everyone really wanted to know. So now I just say fine 🙂 When someone really wants to know then they keep asking. Then I know they really are interested. I do the same. I wait to see if I should ask again because sometimes people don’t want to tell the truth also. It’s hard to be honest sometimes

  6. how you doing??

  7. this happened to me the other morning. we’ve been having a tough time and a guy who i usually see in the park when out walking my dog came over and asked how i was. it startled me – but also make me consider how i was actually feeling. great post – have been thinking about this all week.

    also, could you please do a fashion post on the best outfits to wear to a winter wedding that specifies “cocktail” as the dress-code?

  8. I love this post.

    It’s a phrase we all gloss over, but when that moment comes when you believe someone is saying it sincerley -or- if right then you reaaalllly need someone to care about your answer, it throws you. And it never seems right or fair to actually lay out on them how you truly are. I usually end up giving a crooked smile which I think conveys, “Things are shite, but I don’t want to share my burden with you, so let’s just pretend I’m o.k.”

    “They don’t really want to know,” we tell ourselves. And most of the time, we don’t have the time or energy for a real response; whether we are being asked or we are the questioner.

  9. I almost didn’t write this post last night! I love how many people feel the same way about it. After I wrote I went to delete it and then decided to leave it as is. Glad I did because I love the conversation we are all having

    • Please never delete your posts, Vera. Don’t doubt yourself – I know it’s hard because I do it all the time too. Anyway, you are interesting and bring up good topics…..it’s like true confessions time and I love it.

  10. I think it’s a really loose way of greeting someone, so people use it like that. A way to be polite. I don’t feel it’s like “people don’t like to know” all the time. I think is just an habit. It’s really fun to see their faces when you respond to that question honestly lol

    On the other hand, we don’t want to response honestly to this question every time, do we? I get like a million (well, not million but a lot of) “how are you” during the day.

    The trick is when we really are asking, to ask a second or third time. Maybe we should try to be more specific, so the other people know we are asking for real. On the other hand, if we are asked that question, to see if that person is really asking, if that person really wants to know, or if we really are in the mood to give a really respond and talk about it.

    I prefer to respond “fine” and wait if the conversation goes a little bit deeper before I star telling about my horrible day 😉

  11. Have you ever said “horrible” and no one even noticed? Totally ridiculous. I try to listen when I ask because that’s what I want done to me….entered your sperry giveaway 🙂

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