Benjamin Rosenbaum

Comments on ""How are you?""

Randall Munroe also once had this observation.

Posted by Noam at November 21, 2010 11:43 AM

Thank you for this insight! I am having exactly the same problems you describe. I will try and implement your solution.

Posted by Lise A at November 21, 2010 02:26 PM

This is particularly to the point because one of the questions answered by your choice of story is what is uppermost in your thoughts right now (that you are willing to share)? Or even what aspects of your life shall we talk about?

If I ask you how you are, and you start with Well, those kids of mine are a hoot; the other day… , then you are looking for that conversation. If you start with I can't seem to shake this cold, that's a different one. I just read this terrific book is another good answer.

I am looking for signals of levels of intimacy, among other things, but your choice of which true story is also going to tell me more about how you are than a statistical analysis.

Although, now that I think about it, pulling out a chart would be really funny. There's probably an app for that.


Posted by Vardibidian at November 21, 2010 03:19 PM

I am an automaton, posting to your weblog in order to sell pharmaceutical aphrodisiacs or games of chance - I didn't regret the decision to type, rather than copy and paste, the first part of this comment until I got to "pharmaceutical aphrodisiacs." How are you?


Posted by Matt at November 21, 2010 04:23 PM

Oh for goodness sakes the answer is always 'fine!' Life is not always complicated. HARUMPH.

Posted by Haddayr at November 27, 2010 02:59 AM

No, Haddayr, that's the first how are you. If, after I say "how are you?" and you say "fine", and we take off our coats, sit down, order food, stretch, and dish about the waiter, I then say, "so -- Haddayr. How are you?", you then say, "Fine", it means "bug off, let's talk about something less intimate and more cerebral."

That cannot always be the answer...?

Posted by Benjamin Rosenbaum at November 29, 2010 02:20 PM

For some odd reason, I think there was a Garfield cartoon (of all things) on the same topic.

Couldn't find it, but it was something along the lines of someone asking Garfield, "How are you?"

Garfield then responds "Do you mean that in the meaningless social fluff kind of way, or do you actually want to know?"

The other says "The meaningless social fluff..."

To which he replies, "Ah! Fine, how are you?"

There is a chance I'm confusing it with another comic.

In unrelated yet bizarre news, we are 3 links distant on LinkedIn, so I know someone who knows someone who knows you professionally apparently.

Posted by jamesG at December 3, 2010 02:58 PM

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