By

How to Respond to “How Are You?”

When someone asks how you are, how do you respond? It’s a tough question when you have a life-altering illness — should you shrug it off with an “OK” and deny your own experience or be truthful and risk scaring off the other person?

My response varies depending on the person, how I feel in that moment, how much energy I have, and if I really want to get into it. It’s usually along the lines of “I’m still here,” “I’m alive,” “I’ve been better,” or “OK right now, though it’s been a rough week.” If I don’t want to talk about it, I immediately follow my response by turning the question around. Most people love to talk about what’s going on in their lives and are thrilled to have someone who is ready to listen.

100 Ways to Answer the Question “How Are You?” (PDF) is an excellent new resource from ChronicBabe that’ll help you answer that difficult question. There’s bound to be a suggestion that will help you no matter how you’re feeling on a particular day and how much you want to talk about.

I particularly like the section on authenticity where she points out that answering the question honestly can establish intimacy and trust, leading to a deeper connection between you and the people in your life and, thus, greater support. Need more encouragement to open up? Check out The Power and Strength of Vulnerability.

One Response to How to Respond to “How Are You?”

  1. macattack says:

    Thank you so much for this. My default answer is usually “pretty good”, which to me means ‘Not good, but…’ I know that is not an accurate description, but it usually works to close out the rhetorical question of the moment.

    I have definitely struggled at work though when I am in a bad stretch with the migraines. My team will come in each day and sincerely asking me ‘How are you? Feeling better.” It’s hard to come up with the right thing to say day after day when the expectation is that you are going to say ‘Yes, I am feeling better, thanks”.
    I have a new bag of tricks to add to my Toolbox of Migraine Management now! Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>