“How are you doing?” All of us use this phrase every day when we meet our friends or colleagues and want to know how they are.
This greeting phrase is so common and widely spread that very few of us know or even wonder what it actually means.
So if you have ever been curious about the meaning of the greeting phrase “how are you doing?”, you will definitely find this article useful!
Today, you will learn not only about the meaning of this greeting.
We will also tell you how to respond to this greeting correctly depending on the situation and the person who is asking you this question.
In addition, we will tell you about the alternative ways of asking this question, as well as about its origin.
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How Do You Respond Correctly to How Are You Doing Questions?
To most of you this question may seem to be weird: what do you mean, how to answer? Just tell them how you are doing, and that’s it! – most of you might say. However, things are a bit more difficult here, you see.
Even though this greeting phrase is quite common in the English language, when you are asked “how are you doing”, it is important to reply correctly.
Otherwise, you may seem awkward or even rude to the person who asked you this question!
So how to respond correctly so that your conversation keeps going? In general, when someone asks you “how are you doing”, you can reply with any of the following responses:
- “I’m great, thank you for asking. How about you?”
- “I’m feeling quite fine, thanks, and you?”
- “Fine, and you?”
Basically, your response to this question will always depend on whether you know the person who is asking you this question, and how well you know them.
Also, you have to consider that person’s age, whether they are older than you or younger than you.
When someone asks you “How are you?”, a very common response is “good thanks” or “good thank you”. As an option, you can answer with “fine thanks” or “fine thank you”.
Note that it is more polite (or we would even say, more formal) to say thanks or thank you after your response.
However, there are some other common responses to “how are you?” that can also be used. For example, you can opt for one of the following:
- “I’m great, thank you for asking. How about you?”
- “I’m feeling quite fine, thanks, and you?”
- “Fine thanks, and you?”
- “I’m okay”, thanks
There are hundreds of responses to “How are you?” in fact. This is because it is also a greeting like saying “Hi” or “Hello.”
Your response depends on your relationship with the person. If you don’t know the person who is asking you this question, then the way you respond depends on whether you are interested in chatting with that person or not.
One way to respond to the question “How are you?” is replying with one or two positive words, thanking them for asking, and asking them the same question in return.
When we are asked, “How are you?”, we usually respond with “I’m fine,” “I’m good,” or “I’m doing alright,” even though we’re not.
Let’s be honest, we tend to do or say so because we sometimes don’t want to burden people with our problems.
This is why, when we are asked “How are you?”, we can reply with something neutral and positive, and some of us can either return the question or end the conversation with a reply like: “I’m fine, thank you.”
Below we would like to provide you with a few other examples of how to respond to “how are you doing”, when asked by different types of people.
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How to respond When a Friend Asks You
When you are hanging out with friends, you may hear the same question, but it might be slightly different. Instead of asking “How are you?” your friends may say something like: “How’s it going?”, “How’ve you been?” or “What’s up?”.
In this case, you can answer comfortably and tell them if you had a bad day or went through a hard time. But of course, if you don’t want to give the complete details, it’s up to you!
When talking to a friend, your responses can be like these:
- “Hi! Better.”
- “I’m doing fine, just having a bad day.”
- “Oh, good to see you. I’m a little bit under the weather”
- “I’m doing great, thanks, and you?”
How to Reply to Your Ex?
Not all of us keep communicating with our ex partners, but if you do, and your ex-boyfriend or your ex-girlfriend asks you how you are doing, you can’t just keep silent!
But how do you respond to an ex asking how you are? When your ex-boyfriend or your ex-girlfriend asks you “how are you?”, you can respond with something neutral like “fine, thanks” or “fine, thank you”.
If you don’t want to hurt their feelings, you should not say you are doing great. Instead, keep it neutral and say that you are okay or fine. You can also use one of the responses we gave you above.
And of course, feel free to change some of them depending on how good or bad your relationship is with your ex.
How to respond When a Senior Person Asks You How You Are Doing?
When you meet someone older than you or when you are introduced to a person informally, you might be wondering how you should respond to such a common greeting as “how are you” since you can’t just say “Oh, I’m fine, thanks!”.
That would be way too rude and impolite!
So grab a few handy alternative responses that you can use without being afraid to seem ill behaved:
- “Hi, I’m doing good, and how are you today?”
- “I’m doing fine, thanks. It’s a beautiful day.”
- “I’m good, thank you, and you?”
- “I’m feeling just fine, and you?”
You can respond with a smile and a little nod as well.
How Do You Respond to “How Are You Doing?” From a Parent?
When your mom or dad asks you “How are you?”, you can either keep the conversation going formal or informal, or return the question. For example:
- “Thanks for asking mom/dad. I’m doing just fine, and you?”
- “I’m fine.”
- “I’m okay, mom. What about you?”
You can respond either way you like but always remember that you should respect them when answering this question because they are still older than you.
How to Reply to Your Teacher?
We are pretty sure there are times when your teacher has asked you this question. So, to respond politely, here are some examples that you can use.
“Hi, how are you today?”
In this kind of situation, you can either say:
- “I’m doing quite fine, teacher, thank you for asking, and how about you?”
- “I’m fine, ma’am/sir, how about you?”.
If you want, you can ask the teacher the same question to appear respectful and keep the conversation formal.
What to Say In Response to a Police Officer?
Talking to a police officer is quite a stressful situation to many of us, even if we did nothing wrong.
However, when the police officer asks you the question “How are you?”, he or she may sometimes ask this simply in order to make sure you are not in trouble.
This can also be the indirect way to ask whether you need help.
To answer this question correctly and politely, you can respond according to your existing situation. If you are in trouble and you do need support, then you have to tell the person you need help and describe your situation.
But if everything is fine, you are safe and sound and you need no help, then answer politely that you are okay.
The officer may ask: “Hi, how are you today? Is everything fine?” You can reply using the following:
- “Yes, officer, I’m doing alright, thanks for asking.”
- “No, I’m not, sir. Someone is stalking me.”
- “I’m fine. Thank you.”
Related: How to Respond to Nice to Meet You?
How to respond to your Classmate?
We all know these classic questions asked when you are in a school class, such as:
- “Hey! How are you today?”
- “Good afternoon to you; how’s your day?”
- “A rainy evening to you, pal; how are you doing?”
As you can see, there are both formal and informal questions.
Your response always depends on whether your classmate is a close friend or someone you are not familiar with.
So you can respond in one of the following ways:
- “Good morning [insert the name], I’m doing great, thank you!”
- “I’m doing just fine, and you?”
- “Eh, I’m doing my best today.”
This conversation is somewhat informal. As you can see, both speakers are comfortable speaking to each other.
What to Say to Your Colleague In Response?
We are sure that all of us have that one colleague in the office who often meets you with “How are you?” or “How’s your day going?”.
In these dialogues, you can use an informal way of answering your colleagues, especially if you are close to them and have the same standing at work.
Here are some responses you can use when your colleague asks you that common question:
- “Doing good, just tired, and you?”
- “I’m doing great. Thanks, and what about you?”
- “Good, good! Just got done with my task, and you?”
How to Respond Informally?
To respond to someone in an informal way, you need to be absolutely sure that you are close to the person enough, and you can talk to them like that.
You can use these examples:
- “Hey! Fine, and how are you today, mate?”
- “I’m doing just fine, and you?”
What About the Formal Answers?
When you are asked, “how are you?” by a superior or an acquaintance, you should always respond formally because you don’t know them well enough.
- “I’m fine, thank you, and what about you?”
- “Oh, good morning, sir. I’m feeling great today, thanks for asking. How about you?”
- “I’m doing great, sir. Thank you, and you?”
So now you know how you should ask this common greeting phrase depending on who you are talking to and what kind of relationships you have with that person.
How Are You Doing Meaning?
Some of you have probably wondered about “how are you doing?” phrase meaning. And in fact, its meaning is pretty simple and we would even say obvious.
The phrase “how you doing” or “how are you doing” is a question that is asked to a person by another person. It is usually used in greeting or when you are being introduced to someone.
We typically use this phrase in order to be polite and gain a response as to their mood and how life is going for them in the most general sense.
In more recent years, this greeting phrase has gained another meaning: today it can also be used to ask the same question in a form of irony or humor.
What Is the Origin Of “How Are You Doing” Greeting Phrase?
All of you surely know that all the set expressions, and “how are you doing” as well, have a certain origin.
Quite many phrases of this kind that we use today in our daily conversations have rather deep roots and some of those phrases might initially even have quite a distinct meaning!
However, if you think that the “how are you doing” greeting phrase has some kind of mysterious or special origin, it is not quite like that.
See, there is in fact no specific origin information on the first use of the phrase “how you doing” as a greeting. It can be said that this is an informal version of the more formal “How are you doing?”.
You can also find information that this phrase is popularly written or spoken in the shortened form, for example, “how ya doin’?”.
In the early 2000s, the popular greeting phrase “how you doing” or “how you doin’” even became a popular catchphrase! What is that catchphrase, you might ask?
A catchphrase is a type of phrase that is said with a certain sass and implies a sort of humorous flirtation. Quite simple, isn’t it?
Are There Any Alternatives to “How Are You Doing?” Phrase?
You surely know that almost all the phrases in the English language have alternative variants.
Some of those variants are simply shortened versions of the initial phrase whilst others are dialectic variants used in different regions of the same country, for example.
As for the “how are you doing” or “how you are doing” greeting phrase that we use so widely these days, it also has several alternative versions! And we are pretty sure that you know all of them.
There are several words and phrases you can insert in place of the phrase “how you doing” to ask the same thing. Some of these alternatives include:
- How are you?
- What’s new?
- How have you been?
In general, the meaning of each of these alternative phrases is the same as the meaning of the initial “how are you doing” phrase.
So if you don’t feel like greeting someone with “how are you doing”, feel free to make use of any of these alternative options.
Well, dear friends, this was all that we wanted to share with you on the subject of common politeness and such a widely used greeting phrase as “how are you doing”.
Now you know very well what it means, you know its origin, and of course, you are aware of how to reply to it correctly in any situation!
Frequently Asked Questions
⭐Is “how are you doing” a formal phrase?
It can be both formal and informal. It depends on whom you are asking exactly.
⭐Is it polite to reply to “how are you doing” with “I’m fine, thanks”?
Yes, it is absolutely fine if you’re talking to a friend or a classmate. With older people, for example, you should use a more formal reply.
⭐Does the greeting phrase “how are you doing” have an old origin?
No, it’s quite modern in fact. It didn’t appear in our language hundreds of years ago!