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“How Are You Today?” Only Has One Right Answer

October 21, 2020

Hey, Rodney, how are you today?

It’s a question we all get asked. Sometimes multiple times per day. Sometimes it’s a coworker. Sometimes it’s your boss. Sometimes it’s a client, or a customer.

So, what’s your answer?

There are two common answers; both wrong.

If you have ever talked to a teenager, or tried to talk to them, you already know the first answer.


And honestly, it’s a “fine” answer. Not great. Not terrible. Not actually fine, or course. I mean not like fine china or fine dining, or fine linen. But, fine like not great, not terrible. I’m fine.

The other answer is the reason you don’t ask that guy Carl from accounting how he’s doing. He’ll tell you all about his gall bladder operation and how it contributed to his gout, and you’ll be happy to know that the rash seemed to clear up after putting that ointment on it twice a day.

No, you just try to nod at Carl with a brief, “Hello” and hurry past.

So, if you can’t say “fine” and you don’t want to overshare, what is the right answer?

I’m doing fantastic.

I can hear the objections now. That is going to sound so corny.

They wake us at six-thirty, just before the morning meal
While they’re taking our blood pressure, they ask us how we feel
And I always say “Fantastic, there ain’t nothing wrong with me
– The Highwaymen “Committed To Parkview

But, here’s the thing. When someone asks you “How are you?” they don’t expect a truthful answer. Not generally. I mean, do you? No, it’s become a question that doesn’t expectr an answer.

So, when you say, “fantastic” it’s just as believable as saying “fine.” The other thing it does is set expectations. You will catch people off guard. And you will intrigue them.

Don’t get me wrong. Answering “I’m fantastic” is not the start of a Tony Robbins seminar. Most of the time, you’ll get the same response you got when you answered “fine.”

But, you will have changed a perfunctary greeting into a chance to make the interaction match your greeting.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2020 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

One Comment
  1. Changing up that basic greeting is fun and engaging. I’ve used “Surviving” often to good effect as well as some lines from various movies. a response from some have been “stop messing with my head” which is just those not wanting their mind exercised.

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