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How Are You Response: Tips and Examples

Whether you’re in the office, in a store, or with a friend, here are the best “how are you?” responses for every scenario.
by Vanessa Gibbs | Oct 21 2022

 

You may be ready to answer any question your boss or client throws at you, but the “how are you” question fills you with dread. 

“How are you?” should be an easy question to answer. You’re either well or you’re not. But things aren’t always as simple as that. How you respond to the question “how are you?” depends less on how you’re feeling and more on who is asking, how well you know them, and where you are.

So, whether you’re well or you’re not, whether you’re chatting with a friend or speaking to your boss, here’s how to give the best “how are you” response in every situation.  

How Are You Response: Our 3 Top Tips 

You could be asked how you are everywhere from when dining in a restaurant to when you start an interview. How you respond will, of course, change slightly depending on how formal you need to be and how well you know the person asking the question. 

But, most of the time, these rules will apply to every “how are you” answer: 

1. Keep it Short

Unless you’re speaking with a close friend and you want to talk about a problem in your personal life at length, you’ll most likely want to keep your “how are you” response short. 

For example: 

  • “I’m good thanks, how are you?” 
  • “I’m doing well, thanks.” 
  • “All good, how’s it going your end?”

Keeping it short is especially important in more formal situations or when you’re simply making small talk with your server in a restaurant, for example. 

Depending on who you’re talking to and the situation, you may throw in a bit of small talk with your response. 

For example: 

  • “I’m good, thanks. So glad the rain has finally stopped.” 
  • “I’m great, thanks. Really excited to dive into this meeting today on the new social media project.” 
  • “I’m doing well, thanks. Really excited to be here, thanks again for inviting me.” 

2. Keep it Positive

Again, keep your problems for conversations with close friends. Most of the time, the person you’re speaking to is making small talk, being polite, and kicking off the conversation with a “how are you.” 

You don’t want to go into how stressed you are at work or how your cat is ill. 

A generic and positive, “I’m good” is — most of the time — the best way to start a conversation with most people you’ll talk to. 

Be careful of phrases like “I’m fine” and “I’m okay.” While they’re not exactly negative, they can come across as being so if your tone isn’t right. 

Plus, if you’re typing your response in an email, it’s better to go with a word choice that definitely conveys positivity, like “good” or “great.” 

3. Say “Thanks” 

You’re simply saying thanks for them having asked you how you are. We know it doesn’t sound like much, but consider how these two responses sound: 

How are you? 

  • “Good.” 
  • Good, thanks” 

One is much more polite and friendly than the other.

You can drop the “thanks” if you’re speaking with a close friend or colleague, although it’s still a nice touch to include one. 

4. Ask How the Other Person is 

Once you’ve responded to the question, ask how the other person is, too. It’s polite, it keeps the conversation going, and it helps you connect before moving on to whatever else the conversation is going to be about. 

How you ask someone the question will depend on how formal you need to be. 

For example, for close friends, you can ask: 

  • “How have you been?”
  • “How’s it going” 
  • “How’s everything your end”
  • “What’s new?” 

For your boss, in an interview, or people you don’t know as well, you might say: 

  • “How are you?”
  • “How are you doing?”
  • “Are you well?”

How Are You Response Examples 

Been asked how you are and looking for some answers? Here’s what to say. 

How Are You Reply Formal 

If you’re being asked how you are in an interview, by your boss, or by a professor, your best bet is to keep it short, positive, and on the more formal side. 

For example: 

  • “I’m good thanks, how are you?”
  • “I’m doing well, thank you. How are you?” 
  • “I”m great, thanks. How about yourself?”
  • “All good here, thank you. How are you?”
  • I’m good, thanks. Hope you’re doing well.” 

How Are You Reply Friend 

When you’re speaking with a close friend, you can be a little more honest with your answer, as well as use more informal language. 

For example: 

  • “I’m good, how’re you doing?” 
  • “I’ve been better, work has been non-stop these past few weeks.” 
  • “I’m not too bad, busy at work, but can’t complain. What about you?”
  • “I’m not doing too well, to be honest. I’ve been struggling with my mental health lately.” 
  • “I’m doing great, thanks. That vacation was exactly what I needed. What’s going on in your life?” 

How Are You Reply in Email 

If someone asks how you are in an email, it’s probably in an email opening sentence before getting to the important part of the message. 

Be sure to keep your response short and professional. 

For example: 

  • “I’m well, thanks. How are you?” 
  • “I’m good, thank you. Hope you are too.” 
  • “I’m doing great, thanks. Hope you’re well.”
  • “Good, thanks. How have you been?”
  • “I’m good, thanks. Hope you’re keeping well.”

How Are You Reply Stranger 

In many cultures, “how are you?” is almost used as a greeting. The person isn’t really interested in how you are (sorry!), they’re just being polite.

For example, if you walk into a store, the cashier may say “Hi, how are you?” when you come up to the counter. In this case, you’re not expected to share how you’re really feeling or the details of what’s going on in your life. A simple “good, thanks. You?” is all that’s needed. They’ll probably reply with “good,” before helping you with your order. 

For example: 

  • “I’m good, thanks. You?”
  • “Great, thanks. How are you?”
  • “I’m doing good, thanks.” 

How Are You Reply Interview 

There are many common interview questions you need to be ready for, but the meeting may kick off with a “how are you?”

Follow our advice above and keep things short and positive, even if you’re dreading the interview or bursting with excitement for the opportunity. And remember to ask the interviewer how they are, too. 

Here’s what you could say when asked how you are in an interview: 

  • “I’m good, thanks. How are you?” 
  • “I’m doing well, thanks. How about yourself?”
  • “I’m great, thank you. How are you?” 
  • “Doing well, thank you. How are you?”
  • I’m well, thanks. Really excited to be here. How are you?”

 How Are You Reply Boss

If your boss or a senior colleague asks you how you are, you want your response to be polite, professional, and positive. Think somewhere between a reply to an interviewer and a colleague on the same level as you. 

Of course, how exactly you respond will all depend on the relationship you have with your boss and the type of culture you work in. 

Here are some ideas: 

  • “I’m good, thanks. How are you?” 
  • “Doing good, thanks. How’s everything with you?”
  • “Everything’s going well, thanks. I just finished up the Q3 report, so that will be in your inbox very soon.”
  • “All good here, thanks. The weather in London has been great today. How are you?” 
  • “I’m great, thanks. Excited to dive back into work after my vacation. How has everything been while I’ve been away?” 

The “how are you” question shouldn’t be a hard one. Remember to be positive, keep it short, and ask the person how they are, too. Vary your language depending on how formal you need to be and who you’re speaking to. Then, once you’ve given the perfect answer, it’s time to enjoy the rest of the conversation. 

Want more communication tips? We’ve covered how to thank someone for their time and how to write better emails

 

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