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Thread: Why do people ask "How are you"?

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    Default Why do people ask "How are you"?

    I can't stand asking how people are doing so I don't because I honestly could care less. I'm a cashier at a grocery store and I simply say "Hi, how can I help you?". Some of those god damn customers get so bent out of shape just because I didn't ask them. And when they do ask me, I say "fine thank you" and no ask them the same in return. Seems like everyone has been brainwashed into thinking that's how conversations should start. Now something like an interview for a job would be different. I'd be willing to suck up and ask the interviewer how they were doing in a heart beat. What do you guys think? I live in America, and people EVERYWHERE, not just at work ask me this. Most never even stop to here your response. Besides, even if I were doing bad, it's not like they would want to here about it. Nor is it any of their business. If I just got stabbed in the neck, it's none of their business. If I had my car repossessed, THAT sure as hell is none of their business. I know this is very random... But it is so annoying. Why ask if you don't care?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Why do people ask "How are you"?

    It's social norm small talk.

    It's another way of saying "hello", but that isn't a good conversation starter. When you're asking someone how they are doing, you're really attempting to start a conversation. Most people use it because it's universally understood.

    I'm not too sure how you'd become acquainted with a total stranger if you didn't initiate some sort of first conversation. I mean.. try going up to someone you've never meet with the intent of getting to know them, but don't say anything along the lines of "how's it going?" or "how are you?". Not as easy anymore.

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    Default Re: Why do people ask "How are you"?

    I know it's all traditions and stuff, But I too find myself annoyed at this. Like, was playing a mmorpg, A guild member logs on and an another member greets him: "WB, how are you?"

    -"Fine, how about you" -"I'm fine too"
    This is not a conversation! It's just meaningless, arbitrary lines. Talk about something that actually has some meaning, content!
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Why do people ask "How are you"?

    I don't mind it, I grew up with this being installed in my programming as the intiative greating. I find it stale tho, when all you get in return is "Fine thanx." I find it more exciting when someone says, "Not too good," or "very crappy" because then there's a story behind it, rather than a two word response which is in itself the only convo produced. I'm a poeple person that enjoys talking, so really any kind of conversation is enjoyable, even the dull responses.

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    Default Re: Why do people ask "How are you"?


    It doesn't really annoy me. I just tend not to think about it.

    It's exactly as Ericgamer1 said: It's a social norm. People in our society have been raised to ask that question every time they start a conversation. So you could say people have been "brainwashed" in a way. It's just a matter of societal folkways and mores and all that jazz.


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    Default Re: Why do people ask "How are you"?

    Omgs u know exactly what I am talking about. I have a been a cashier at a grocery store for 3 years and just recently quit because I was unable to get there and I'm moving soon. Anyway I said the exact same thing to every costomer. Over and over. The same routien for 3 years. It soon became 2nd nature and my body was basically on autopilot the minute I clock in. It was wlways. Hi how r u? Find everything ok? Milk in a bag? Bla bla bla. It got soooooooooo annoying!!!!!! But u know wat I mean.
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    Default Re: Why do people ask "How are you"?

    I too find this annoying, but mainly because the person asking isn't actually interested in how you're doing. Hence, you can't give a truthful response - you can only say "Fine," or "I'm okay" or something along those lines. When things aren't okay, I'd like to be able to say that without repercussions.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Why do people ask "How are you"?

    It's common courtesy. America now is so horrible about being self centered and not open and friendly to others. Sure there is a line to be drawn about how open to be. But a simple "Hey how is your day?" Can go a long way for some people especially the elders. People always strike conversations with me particularly the elderly for some reason but I smile and follow along because I can tell it brightens up their mood to have someone to talk to. Sure when you ask them how they are doing they go on a long lecture about this and that but just tune them out and nod and smile when you can.


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    Default Re: Why do people ask "How are you"?

    You're a cashier, that's your job to make the customer feel welcome even if you don't mean it so that they're more willing to come back to your store in the future and spend money.
    Anybody who deals with consumers is required to do this if they wish to keep customers. You're not required to like it.

    Deal with it.

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    Default Re: Why do people ask "How are you"?


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    Default Re: Why do people ask "How are you"?

    It's just a common curtesay thats all

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Why do people ask "How are you"?

    @OP How are you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shin Natsume View Post
    Why ask if you don't care?
    Well, they don't ask because they expect an answer. They ask because, like people already said, it's a way to "ease up" starting a conversation.

    I'm not really a fan of this way, but it works better with strangers. It's gonna look weird if you used a 4chan-ish "conversation starter" (e.g., "u mad?").
     

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    Default Re: Why do people ask "How are you"?

    It wouldn't be a good thing

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    Default Re: Why do people ask "How are you"?

    Yeh. I never got this particular Americanism. On the other hand, cultures do all sort of strange things for no particular reason. Like wearing a fancy hat. What's the deal with that?



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    Default Re: Why do people ask "How are you"?

    Because at the event Lords in Britain you have to wear a hat

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Why do people ask "How are you"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eris View Post
    Yeh. I never got this particular Americanism. On the other hand, cultures do all sort of strange things for no particular reason. Like wearing a fancy hat. What's the deal with that?
    Hm? I figured it was kind of a universal custom with some slight variations depending on where you are.

    Mind if I ask as to what the Swedish equivalent to "how are you?" then would be? Just out of curiosity.
    Last edited by Ericgamer1; 09-15-2010 at 04:56 PM.

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    Default Re: Why do people ask "How are you"?

    My brother went to Sweden and learnt that he even told me it, completely forgotten it now

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Why do people ask "How are you"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ericgamer1 View Post
    Hm? I figured it was kind of a universal custom with some slight variations depending on where you are.

    Mind if I ask as to what the Swedish equivalent to "how are you?" then would be? Just out of curiosity.
    There is no equivalent, not as a greeting anyway. You just say hello and speak your mind. You can ask how someone is doing, but then you're not greeting them, but genuinely inquiring about their wellbeing, which can be almost offensive, as it implies they somehow look upset or ill. Asking how things are going is slightly less offensive, but still not a greeting or default conversation opener.
    Last edited by Eris; 09-15-2010 at 05:07 PM.



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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Why do people ask "How are you"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ericgamer1 View Post
    It's social norm small talk.

    It's another way of saying "hello", but that isn't a good conversation starter. When you're asking someone how they are doing, you're really attempting to start a conversation. Most people use it because it's universally understood.
    This.

    Different cultures interpret simple conversation starters like this in different ways, though. Ask most Americans how their day was and they'll probably sum it up in a few sentences. Ask a German how their day was, prepare to sit down and dedicate some time to 'em. For us it's light conversation (small talk), whereas for them (and others) it's initiating a lengthy discussion.


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  20. #20
    Thats life. Awesome? Shin Natsume has a reputation beyond repute Shin Natsume has a reputation beyond repute Shin Natsume has a reputation beyond repute Shin Natsume has a reputation beyond repute Shin Natsume has a reputation beyond repute Shin Natsume has a reputation beyond repute Shin Natsume has a reputation beyond repute Shin Natsume has a reputation beyond repute Shin Natsume has a reputation beyond repute Shin Natsume has a reputation beyond repute Shin Natsume has a reputation beyond repute Shin Natsume's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why do people ask "How are you"?

    Heh, in the past I asked a guy how he was doing, just because he was a regular customer and I really wanted to know. He kept me there for about ten minutes. I regretted asking because I was not willing to -nor did I have the time to- stay there. Very seldom do I ask that. Another instance was when I asked a lady and she started telling me about her recent stroke. Beyond those two incidents, I can't remember the last time I asked someone. But it really annoys me when someone asks me. It's just mindless small-talk. I would start a conversation with a stranger with "hey" or "Hello" and then get to the point. Also when telemarketers call the house, they ask how I'm doing. I always want to say "Fu**ed up!" though I tend not to swear when it isn't necessary.
    Last edited by Shin Natsume; 09-15-2010 at 07:22 PM.

  21. #21
    AF's Annoying Weeaboo Yoko Littner has a reputation beyond repute Yoko Littner has a reputation beyond repute Yoko Littner has a reputation beyond repute Yoko Littner has a reputation beyond repute Yoko Littner has a reputation beyond repute Yoko Littner has a reputation beyond repute Yoko Littner has a reputation beyond repute Yoko Littner has a reputation beyond repute Yoko Littner has a reputation beyond repute Yoko Littner has a reputation beyond repute Yoko Littner has a reputation beyond repute Yoko Littner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why do people ask "How are you"?

    Now I feel like going to the grocery store and asking how your doing.
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  22. #22
    Pegasus Saint Saint Seiya has a reputation beyond repute Saint Seiya has a reputation beyond repute Saint Seiya has a reputation beyond repute Saint Seiya has a reputation beyond repute Saint Seiya has a reputation beyond repute Saint Seiya has a reputation beyond repute Saint Seiya has a reputation beyond repute Saint Seiya has a reputation beyond repute Saint Seiya has a reputation beyond repute Saint Seiya has a reputation beyond repute Saint Seiya has a reputation beyond repute Saint Seiya's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why do people ask "How are you"?

    i know what you mean, i say it too to be honest, for no reason, i dont even care about the other person

  23. #23
    Senior Member Shinn Kamiyra has a reputation beyond repute Shinn Kamiyra has a reputation beyond repute Shinn Kamiyra has a reputation beyond repute Shinn Kamiyra has a reputation beyond repute Shinn Kamiyra has a reputation beyond repute Shinn Kamiyra has a reputation beyond repute Shinn Kamiyra has a reputation beyond repute Shinn Kamiyra has a reputation beyond repute Shinn Kamiyra has a reputation beyond repute Shinn Kamiyra has a reputation beyond repute Shinn Kamiyra has a reputation beyond repute Shinn Kamiyra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why do people ask "How are you"?

    Whether it's someone asking me how I'm doing or my asking someone how they're doing, I don't mind it as much so long as I get a halfway decent conversation rather than just an "I'm good" or "I'm doing fine". Answers like that hold virtually no substance for me; so if I'm talking with someone who has the tendency to give a 'flat' answer like that, I'll usually just give them a "Hi" or a "Hello" right off the bat. Save me some time.

    I, personally, have no interest whatsoever in how random people are doing. Unless there's something about them that catches my interest or I feel that they'll actually provoke an intellectual and stimulating conversation, I just like to nod my head, give a small smile, and be on my way.

    My thanks to Xey Oiz for the awesome new set.

    "Screw being normal and be awesome instead!"

  24. #24
    Senior Member Cobra Commander has a reputation beyond repute Cobra Commander has a reputation beyond repute Cobra Commander has a reputation beyond repute Cobra Commander has a reputation beyond repute Cobra Commander has a reputation beyond repute Cobra Commander has a reputation beyond repute Cobra Commander has a reputation beyond repute Cobra Commander has a reputation beyond repute Cobra Commander has a reputation beyond repute Cobra Commander has a reputation beyond repute Cobra Commander has a reputation beyond repute Cobra Commander's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why do people ask "How are you"?

    I hate that people ask that and then walk away before you can answer. I don't care how they're doing, they don't care how I'm doing. How about a smile, a simple nod, or even just plain hello?

  25. #25
    Ellxeeva's Minion SigmaSD has a reputation beyond repute SigmaSD has a reputation beyond repute SigmaSD has a reputation beyond repute SigmaSD has a reputation beyond repute SigmaSD has a reputation beyond repute SigmaSD has a reputation beyond repute SigmaSD has a reputation beyond repute SigmaSD has a reputation beyond repute SigmaSD has a reputation beyond repute SigmaSD has a reputation beyond repute SigmaSD has a reputation beyond repute SigmaSD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why do people ask "How are you"?

    People mostly ask that as common courtesy and probably case more often then not they assume the person will respond with a simple "good" or "fine".

    I mostly have people say hello or wave at me, like if I'm walking down the street or something. And most often than not its only cause eye contact is made.
    If Minecraft had a Japanese intro.

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