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Friday, February 4, 2011

The Perpetual "How Are You?" Dance

In my newfound desire to get into a literary mindset, I have decided to start writing whenever I get the urge to share an idea. Any idea, even if it's a bit of a rant like this one. So here goes...

Practically every weekday (usually more than once), I get yet another invitation to the perpetual "How Are You?" dance. Even though I despise the dance and would very much like to decline, I accept out of courtesy and reply with the appropriate and never-changing response "I'm fine, thank you, how are you?" Because although my dance partner initiated the request, he or she generally has no desire to stray from the same sequence of steps as every other day. "How Are You?" "I'm fine, thank you, how are you?" "Oh, good." And if I cut the dance short with a simple "I'm fine, thank you" and don't proceed with the proper dance step, I generally get an awkward glance because I didn't ask "how are you?" back. Or, if I throw in a complicated sashay of "Not that great", the simple twirl around the dance floor of polite niceties turns into a intricate rumba of "What's wrong" and the subsequent explanation.

And so the dance continues, day after day, with the same sequence of steps, and I have no clue how to break the cycle. I'm sure my many dance partners have no idea how much this dance annoys the heck out of me. And I'm too polite to tell them to shut up - pretty please - and stop asking "How are you" as their general greeting, because I know they don't really care or expect an answer any different than the one I always give. So I am doomed to keep dancing for now and hope that someday I will be greeted with a simple "Hello."


  1. You're totally right. I use "how are you" when I'm not sure how else to start the conversation, haha. I do also use it when I haven't spoken to the person in a while and am honestly not sure how they are, but sometimes the dance does get a tad annoying, esp. when I'm trying NOT to talk about something. It always seems to slip out, somehow!

  2. Nice analogy. Honestly when I ask someone how they are, I mean it. I want an honest answer, but there's no way they can know that cuz of the dance.

    The only way to break it is to be specific, I think. But you're absolutely right in that most people don't want the dance broken. (Though maybe then they'd stop asking?).

  3. Ha ha, yeah if it's someone I haven't seen in a few days then "how are you" is perfectly fine because I might have something new to say. It's when people I see every day and they say it every single day! Or if I'm walking past someone and they're obviously not looking to start a conversation. I'm sure it's just a habit of theirs, but it's really annoying.