Why do some people take "How are you" literally!

Discussion in 'Countryside Families' started by Ardie/WI, Dec 17, 2006.

  1. Ardie/WI

    Ardie/WI Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    15,516
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Two weeks ago, we met a new member to our church. After chatting a few minutes, she proceeded to tell us all of her husband health problems, her problems, their financial problems...yadda, yadda, yadda. Whew...was glad to get away from that one.

    So, today, I greet her husband for the first time and mention the great weather we're having. He tells me ALL about his aches and pains when the weather is damp and all about his pain medications.

    Do they really believe that the world cares. Yes, I have empathy, but everyone has problems.

    When someone asks me how I am, I say fine. A neighbor told me that on my death bed, I'll answer fine. Everyone has aches and pains. Roger told me that I never complain if I'm in pain. Why should I or anyone else for that matter! There are so many other subjects that are more interesting!
     
  2. roughingit

    roughingit knitwit

    Messages:
    660
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2005
    Location:
    Oregon
    If you do not care to hear te answer to the question, then why ask it?

    I hate innane fluffy questions where the person doesn't really care what the answer is.
     

  3. Laura

    Laura Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,223
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    OlyPen
    If you don't want to know how people really are, then don't ask.

    In our church, the focus is on intimate relationships with Jesus and each other. Being honest in answering, "How are you," is an important opportunity to share and to pray together. We share each other's burdens. We make sure every member is experiencing spiritual growth and we build trust and learn to function as the Body of Christ.
     
  4. Ardie/WI

    Ardie/WI Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    15,516
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    That's strange. I answer the phone for Roger and a business associate will greet me by saying, "Hi Ardie, how are you?" I'll say fine and ask how they are and they reply the same. I hear Roger say that same greeting almost everytime he phones a business assiciate.
     
  5. Zipporah

    Zipporah Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,059
    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2006
    Location:
    USA
    I have to agree.Sometimes just having a shoulder to cry on a ear to hear a vent makes a person feel better.That said I don't see the point in endless
    complaining either.What is suppose to be accomplished by it?:shrug:Next time someone starts with their aches and pains when you mention the weather maybe you should tell them any day above ground is a good day and walk away.
     
  6. Karin L

    Karin L Bovine and Range Nerd

    Messages:
    911
    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    I find that "How are you" is just part of the greeting thing when you meet a stranger on the street or a freind/relative you haven't seen in a while. I ain't expecting no big, long-winded complaints of a sore back or a little itty-bitty cut on their finger, or financial problems (of which is none of my business to know anyway, nor is it anybody else's except the banks'). Me and my folks call that snivelling. And when somebody starts snivelling to you about something that you quite frankly couldn't care less about, that's a REALLY bad sign. So, I ain't expectin' no longwinded complaint, all I'm expectin is a response of simply ONE WORD: "good, fine, okay." NUTHIN ELSE!!
    And if the person says bad, well, it's up to yours truly (or you) to ask or say nothing.

    And most often after the short response to How Are you...we talk about the weather. And then things start a-rollin' from there.

    We Canadians must have a different insight of "How are you"'s than you, it seems. Or else we Crazy Canucks are just more saner and nicer than our neighbors to the south, no offence intended.
     
  7. Ardie/WI

    Ardie/WI Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    15,516
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    You made me chuckle! I like tha word "snivelling". Must remember that!
     
  8. Laura

    Laura Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,223
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    OlyPen
    There is a big difference between business aquaintances and fellow parishoners. Personally, I don't like being lied to when when people answer "Fine" when clearly things are not "fine" for them. It shows they do not trust me enough to be honest.
     
  9. midwsthomestead

    midwsthomestead joy seeker

    Messages:
    1,482
    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2005
    Location:
    central Indiana
    I say 'good to see you' more often than I do 'how are you'--no real reason, I just realized I do that.

    I, too, dislike folks asking 'how are you' when they really don't want to know. That's a question, not a comment--but I spose in today's society it's become 'meaningless',just something to say before moving onto the conversation at hand or another person.

    Most folks I've met that ramble after being asked such a question are often lonely or sad, their whole world is about how they feel today. I don't ask if I can't be empathetic and understanding. ~shrug~

    ~~
     
  10. Speciallady

    Speciallady Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    868
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Indiana
    When I greet someone, if I want to have a conversation or have time to speak with them I say Hi, How's it going or how are ya? When I'm in a hurry but someone has taken the time to greet me, or I want to acknowledge them, I say Hi, there. If it's a business thing, I just Hi what can I do to help you or something along that line. When I ask how are you I mean How are you.
     
  11. Karin L

    Karin L Bovine and Range Nerd

    Messages:
    911
    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    Yeah, but what if people who say "fine" and don't mean it don't want to show that they're not fine? I know people like that, even those that I trust, and I don't make a big deal of it, because through the conversation (if it lasts that long) they'll swallow their pride enough to say, though breifly, of what's not "fine" for them. Then again, that won't happen, especially if they don't WANT to trust someone with the info of their problems, or too much pride is at stake.

    This is something that I hear dad say often: "If it doesn't concern me, then it's none of my business." Just the facts of an unfair life.
     
  12. KimM

    KimM Student of goatology.

    Messages:
    3,131
    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2005
    Location:
    Ohio
    That is so nice. I wish I could find fellowship like that but unfortunately, most people around here don't really care about one another.


     
  13. hisenthlay

    hisenthlay a.k.a. hyzenthlay

    Messages:
    2,024
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Location:
    Southwestern PA
    I think I know what you mean--sometimes I ask because I want to know, like with friends, and sometimes I ask just to be polite. We have a neighbor like this--I really want to be nice and kind to him, but he just makes it so hard. He's an older guy, never worked a day in his life, but was always a "caregiver" for his aunt. Now, you may say that's work, but when I see a 60ish year old guy sitting around on the porch while his 80ish year old frail aunt mows the lawn and trims the hedges, because he has "allergies" (if your allergies are really so bad, go inside, don't just sit there drinking tea and reading the paper!), I lose a lot of respect for him. He also seems to be a bit stalker-ish and creepy, based on tiny things he notices and comments on, like exactly how long I was out working in the yard, or exactly how late our lights were on in the house on various days of the week. There are lots of other things like that, but maybe you get the idea. Now his aunt had a stroke, so he's just living in her house alone, and goes to visit her sometimes.

    When you see this guy on the street, you know it's bad news, because he is not capable of having a short conversation. Every "hi" or "how are you" has to turn into a 10-30 minute saga of every little thing going on in his life, every minor ache & pain, every little perceived insult, etc. It's like he never learned that other people have problems, too, and that many of them actually have places to be and things to do! Oy! This guy is religious, and I often see him with people from his church, and I have the feeling they're only there out of a sense of Christian duty. I guess I admire them, but I think some people rely too much on the kindness of others by dumping all their junk on them, and I feel like this guy is just encouraged by people continually giving to him, and maybe he needs to learn to do for himself and others occasionally.

    It sounds like this guy you met, Ardie, might be cut from a similar cloth. There's a difference between caring how someone is, and wanting a virtual stranger to dump all of their minor complaints on you.... :rolleyes:
     
  14. fitwind

    fitwind Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    594
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2005
    Location:
    SW Missouri
    Well be thankful you didn't ask how he felt it could have gotten into alot more details. Just think of it this way you might have helped him feel better emotionally..
     
  15. Macybaby

    Macybaby I love South Dakota Supporter

    Messages:
    5,321
    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2006
    Location:
    South Dakota
    When I moved from WI to SD I had to deal with this issue. I was not use to people saying "hi, how are you doing?" as a form of generic greeting. And for the first year after I moved, I was not doing well at all.

    So each morning I would have to put up with half a dozen people ask me "how are you doing" when not a one really wanted to know. Where I had lived previously, no one would ask that unless they actually wanted to know. It hurt a lot because even though they were trying to be friendly on the surface, I don't think a one of them really cared about how I was doing.

    I've since gotten use to the way people here use "how are you?" as a meaningless comment. I've learned to say "fine" and ignore them.

    I refuse to do it, I won't ask someone a question if I don't want to hear the answer.

    Cathy
     
  16. Peacock

    Peacock writing some wrongs Supporter

    Messages:
    6,873
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Location:
    SW Ohio
    There's a difference between the generic greeting "How are you" to which the only appropriate answer is "fine, thank you" or something similar, and a real probe for info into someone's personal happiness and health. If you don't know someone well, it's most likely they really just want to hear "fine." It's just an extended form of "hello."

    The alternative, middle ground is a concise answer that conveys the truth without making the person who asked uncomfortable. Examples -- "I'm kind of tired, but I'll get through it, thanks for asking." Or "Could be better, could be worse, I guess." Such truthful but brief answers give the other person a chance to either ask further questions and express an interest, or to politely excuse herself.
     
  17. Bink

    Bink Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,476
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2003
    Location:
    Beautiful Kentucky
    Ardie, I guess whenever you spot either of them, you're going to have to switch your greeting to, "Hi! How...good to see you!"
     
  18. FarmGoddess

    FarmGoddess Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    413
    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2006
    LOL, I use to work with a person like that. The company joke was "Never, ever ask Joan how she's doing, because she will tell you". In great detail. More than you ever wanted to know.

    :hobbyhors :hobbyhors :hobbyhors
     
  19. caroline00

    caroline00 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,473
    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2002
    well, its one thing for a good friend to dump on you but when a total stranger does.... and both husband and wife, yet....

    Thats one friendship not to cultivate unless you have the time and inclination for ministry because most likely they will be a high maintenance friendship. Right now, I am in a stage of life that doesnt need high maintenance friends...
     
  20. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

    Messages:
    20,074
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2003
    Ardie my Hips are hurting and the tops of my Thighs.But other than that I'm doing pretty good.

    I hate it when I go to the ER and they ask how you are doing? Well tell me I'm not going to die just yet and I'll be alot better. :shrug: :help:

    big rockpile