How Are You Today?

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  • If I were to ask you, “How are you today?”, the overwhelming majority of you would say, “I’m fine”. Our society has trained us to think that is the right answer. But when you think about that response, it has little meaning.

    I believe that when someone asks “How are you today?”, they are looking for a way to start a conversation. Sometimes they sincerely want to know . The problem is the question has lost it’s meaning and people expect you to answer with “I’m fine, thank you”.

    A few months ago I wrote a blog sharing how I no longer say “I’m fine”, but instead, respond with “I’m grateful”. It always catches people off guard and initiates conversation. They leave our exchange thinking about the things they too are grateful for.

    When I wrote the blog, I shared my philosophy on this question with my friend Joe. I saw him this morning and he shared with me that for the past few months he’s been using my example of saying something other than “Fine”, and has had some interesting results. As Joe said, “People that are truly interested in you will respond (when you say something other than ‘fine’) and people who aren’t interested, won’t. Their answer is a good way to judge whether they are interested in you or not.”

    I tried it with my friends on Twitter and asked….

    If you were to answer “How are you today?” in one word right now, what’s your response? I am…. (for a blog- thank you!)

    Here are the responses from a great bunch of interactive tweeps (who would be great to follow on Twitter):

    Hopeful!

    Happy the sun is out! 🙂

    Thankful

    Determined!! 🙂

    Celebrating!

    A little behind

    Blessed

    Crazy maisie!

    Victorious!

    Fabulous!

    BLESSED!

    Inspired

    Pensive

    Excited 🙂

    Marvelous!

    Prayful

    Disgruntled

    Outstanding 🙂

    Happy :-

    Celebrating!

    Growing

    Happy!

    Fortunate 🙂

    Sooo sleepy

    Jammin’

    Content+agitated

    Hopeful

    Just to shake things up a bit, try a little experiment with me. The next time someone asks you “How are you?”, answer with something else other than “Fine”. Open the dialogue for real conversation. According to Joe (and I agree with him), you’ll know from their response if they are sincerely interested in your welfare, or if they are just being polite in asking the question.

    Also, think of this when you’re the one asking “How are you?” to someone else. Do you really want to know? What other ways can we learn to ask that question to let someone know we sincerely care? How about “What’s the best part of your day so far?”, or “What are you most grateful for today?” Or if you’re feeling really brave, you might ask, “What can I do to improve your day today?”

    Warning- If you ask a different question, be ready for some fun answers and a thought-provoking dialogue. ☺

    Please share your thoughts with us below- because I really want to know what you’re thinking and interact with you. I really want to know the best and worst things in your life right now, and more importantly, how we can be of service to inspire you to your greatness. We’re here, and we’re listening. Thanks for sharing with us.

    Gail Lynne Goodwin

    Gail Lynne Goodwin is the founder of InspireMeToday.com, bringing the best inspiration to the world. InspireMeToday.com provides free inspiration, each day from a new Inspirational Luminary, to a global community of folks from over 150 countries. Gail has interviewed many well-known names including Sir Richard Branson, Guy Laliberte, Seth Godin, Tony Hseih, Gary Vaynerchuk, Michael Gerber, Marci Shimoff, Jack Canfield and hundreds more. According to Mashable, Gail was one of 2009's Top 25 Most Inspirational People on Twitter. Prior to InspireMeToday.com, Gail spent several years as manager for her recording artist daughter, Carly. As a result of the success of their co-penned song, "Baby Come Back Home", Gail accompanied her daughter to bases in the US and to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba where Carly performed for our troops. Gail and Carly created the 'World's Longest Letter' of love and support and delivered the 18-mile long scroll on a month-long tour of Iraq and the Persian Gulf in 2006. Gail is excited to present her latest course, Love in 21 Days, a step-by-step guide to finding love online. Love in 21 Days is founded on a logical process that has been tested - and proven! - by not only Gail, but also by students around the world who too have found love. Gail is a published author and a regular writer for the Huffington Post. She offers mentoring and mastermind services to clients worldwide from her home in Whitefish, Montana. Follow Gail on Twitter or Google+.

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    1. ava diamond (@feistywoman)
      ava diamond (@feistywoman) says:

      This is a great post, Gail. I grew up in NY where the question is “How ya’ doin’?” And the only appropriate response is “How YOU doin’?”

      There was no expectation of actual conversation.

      So glad you’re encouraging deeper connection in this daily interaction. And yes, I’m still “jammin'” today : )

      As always, you rock!

      Reply
      • Gail
        Gail says:

        Thank you Ava. I love what you shared about “How ya doin’?”. I can hear my NYC and Jersey friends saying that. 🙂
        Thanks for your love and support.

        Hugs,

        Gail

        Reply
    2. Cate.TV
      Cate.TV says:

      As usual I love your inspiration Gail 🙂

      For quite some time now my answer to the question of “How are You Today?” has ranged from “Rare, medium rare….to well done!” – you get the picture 🙂 This answer almost always initiates dialogue and if it doesn’t I respond with “sounds like you might be a little “well burnt” right now……..What’s cooking in your world today” and then I shut up (or at least I try!}

      So today……I’m rare to medium rare….cuz after all it’s St. Patricks Day…and as my good friend http://twitter.com/ChristineOLeary grandmother says “Love Many, Trust few, but always paddle your own canoe” ….with that I trust you are all “just fine” Hugs to all, Cate and “I’m Your New Next Door Neighbor” http://bit.ly/bUbEvR

      Reply
    3. Chris Love
      Chris Love says:

      Kudos on the topic Gail!

      I wish more people understood that the way we answer the ‘how are u today question’ is often a reflection of our self talk. The daily mantras that we contently pound into our heads are SO important 🙂

      Thanks for reminding me today!!

      Reply
      • Gail
        Gail says:

        Thanks for your wise comments Chris. I didn’t look at this as a “self-talk issue” until I read your comment. It’s a good reminder- thank YOU!

        Hugs,
        Gail

        Reply
    4. Susan
      Susan says:

      When someone ask me how I’m doing, I always say “vertical.” Quite a conversation starter for sure.

      blessings,
      susan

      Reply
    5. Cindy
      Cindy says:

      I was walking one day and as a stranger approached, I said, “Hello, how are you?” It was a habitual comment said without thought. I got the most wonderful, unexpected response. She said, “I’m great and I hope you are too.” I loved that response… it made my day and I’ve never forgotten it.

      Reply
      • Gail
        Gail says:

        Cindy, what a beautiful response. I love it! Thanks for sharing and adding another one to the list. Enjoy your day!

        Hugs,
        Gail

        Reply
    6. Syaf
      Syaf says:

      Wow! What a great website. This is my first time reading this blog! I am based in Malaysia, we often start the conversation by asking “How are you?” too and sometimes it’s just about being polite. Next time, I’ll try to be different and use the above suggestions by asking something more specific! 🙂

      Thanks for the great post!

      Reply
      • Gail
        Gail says:

        Thank you Syaf! I’m grateful that you found our site and that you also found the information useful for you. Please do keep us posted on your experience with changing “How are you” and share the results that happen with us here. I’m always curious to learn from others too.

        Thanks again for your comment and for stopping by.
        Hugs,

        Gail

        Reply
    7. Ami Adam
      Ami Adam says:

      Hi Gail. English is not my main language. I thought the ‘How are you doing’ is just for being polite. So the response should always be ‘Fine’, ‘Good’. I always want to say something else to really describe how’s my feeling that time. But I was not sure whether it is acceptable. Now I feel more confident to say what I want to say. Thank you.

      Reply

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