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And a "How Are You?" to you too

I'm not Russian, but this resonates with me:

"WHEN an American asks me this question, it's like a wall of ice crashing down between us."...

The question in question is, "How are you?"

The answer Americans give, of course is, "Fine." But when Russians hear this they think one of two things: (1) you've been granted a heavenly reprieve from the wearisome grind that all but defines the human condition and as a result are experiencing a rare and sublime moment of fineness or (2) you are lying.


"'Fine' makes Russians think that Americans have no soul," I explained recently to an American-born friend. "That they just want to go home, eat a frozen dinner in front of the TV, and wait out the hours before going to work to make money again."

For my job, i'm on conference calls all day long, and the "How are you?" questions always comes up. And i've recently noticed that i've forgotten it's even meant to be a question. So i have conversations like this:

"Hi fnord! How are you?"
Then, belatedly, awkwardly. "Oh, i'm fine. How are you?".

I'm not trying to be rude; i've just forgotten how to interact with you humans.

Then there's the times it develops into a feedback loop.

By fnord12 | January 19, 2014, 11:00 PM | My stupid life


i never reciprocate. when someone asks me how i'm doing, i'll give the usual "fine" and then say nothing. cause i don't really care how you're doing, and we already said "hello" so what else is there to say?