Alternatives to “How are you?” — We Should Get Together (2023)

During the midst of the protests after the police murder of George Floyd in June 2020, a lot of people wanted to know how to support their Black friends, so I wrotea resourcefor how folks could do that.

One of the suggestions in it was aboutavoiding the overly broad question “How are you?”which can add stress to an already stressful situation. Of course it’s perfectly natural to care about people and to be curious about their wellbeing. Your concern and curiosity are the marks of a good friend. But in a lot of my circles, there’s been talk lately about people’sexhaustionwith the question“How are you?”so this week I'm sharing some additional perspective about why that's happening, plus giving ya some alternative ways you can check in with friends.


I’m sure there’s at least one raised eyebrow out there right now. You might be thinking, “How on earth could someonenotlike the question 'How are you?'" Thank you for asking.


  • It’s too vague. At any given moment, I’m swimming in a cocktail of conflicting moods because: I’m trying to survive in a global pandemic, fascism is on the rise in the United States, I’m teetering on the edge of hangry and worried that 50% of Americans won't vote in the upcoming election, oh, and I just received the sweetest email from a reader that made me cry tears of joy,… so whichoneof these is the answer to “How are you?” The answer is: "I don't know, but probably a lot." 🥴

  • Cultural norms dictate that a single, short, positive answer is expected like “Good” or “Fine.” But “fine” is kinda a garbage answer. I’ve even heard a joke that fine stands for “F*d up, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional.” Sounds accurate. 😂

  • Hearing “How are you?" can be especially triggering during times of crisis and stress (a.k.a. RIGHT NOW) since any reasonable person oughta be able to make an educated guess that someone’s feeling stressed, worried, or overwhelmed. Asking a chipper “How are you?” when the sky is falling can sound slightly out of touch.

  • “How are you?” assumes that the other person needs to explain themselves to you when they may not feel ready or open to doing that. There’s not really a graceful or easy way to say “I don't want to answer that question" without coming off as rude so you’re pressured to give some type of answer even if you don't want to. (I believe we always deserve the right to opt out of any question that's asked, but that's a topic for another blog post.)

  • When asked “How are you?” over text message, it’s even harder to answer fully since SMS is designed for minimal short responses, and thefull, trueanswer probably doesn’t fit neatly into a single short phrase. (I might be the only weirdo here but getting asked “How are you?” over text is actually strangely triggering for me because it’s completely impossible to fully answer via text, and the act of silencing or squashing how deeply I’mreallyfeeling just makes me feel worse.)

    (Video) DO NOT say "how are you?"! Ask the question in a better way!

  • “How are you?” is just a habitual phrase that a lot of people toss out when they’re not really interested in listening. Have you ever had someone ask “How are you” as they walked by, and before you could open your mouth to reply, they’d already walked away? Yeah, me too. Doesn’t feel awesome. #JustSayHi

A month’s worth of ALTERNATIVES TO "HOW ARE YOU?" (3 MIN READ)

Here are over forty alternatives to “how are you” that you can try out this week. Life is more interesting when you try new things! Expand your repertoire — it'll make you seem like a compassionate person and a sparkling conversationalist!

And if this is totally your jam, you probably want to know that I expanded the list of 40+ alternatives below into a calendar with 300+ options you can use all year long as alternatives to common small talk questions like how are you, where are you from, what do you do, what’s new, how was school, how was work, and more. It’s only $12. Smash the teal button below to get the digital kit, or scroll a bit further to get physical copies while they’re still available.


  1. What’s shakin’?

  2. What’s the vibe today?

  3. What are two emotions you’re feeling right now?

  4. What’s one thing you’re looking forward to?

  5. What are you feeling in this moment?

  6. What’s top of mind for you right now?

    (Video) Alternatives to " How are you?"

  7. Did anything make you smile today?

  8. How did you take care of yourself today?

  9. What have you been listening to?

  10. What did you do today?

  11. It’s good to hear your voice.

  12. I’ve been thinking about you.


  1. What would you like to talk about or not talk about today? (Bonus points here for asking for consent!)

  2. How’s your heart today?

  3. What’s alive for you in this moment?

  4. What’s your day (or week) been like so far?

  5. What’s on your mind this morning/afternoon/evening?

  6. What would make this a good conversation for you?

  7. Is there anything you need right now?

  8. What’s in your tabs these days?

  9. What’s something nice you did for yourself this week?

  10. What’s one thing you’re looking forward to?

  11. What did you do today?

  12. What’s your current coping method?

    (Video) 8 Alternatives to How Are You for Advanced English Conversation

  13. What’s something you enjoyed lately?

  14. Has anything been on your mind that you’d like to talk about?

  15. Is there anything you’d love to talk about today?

  16. What have you been thinking about lately?

  17. Want to take three deep breaths together?

  18. What’s one nice thing you did for yourself lately?

  19. What topics are on or off the table today?

  20. How have you been sleeping?

  21. Is there anything you need right now?

  22. If we could talk about anything you wanted, what would it be?

  23. I really appreciate you being in my life.

  24. I’ve been looking forward to talking to you.

  25. I care about you.

  26. I’m really glad we’re friends.

  27. Something I really appreciate about you is…

  28. I miss you so much.

  29. {…just listen…}


  1. Thinking of you ❤️

  2. Thinking of you [plus a cute gif]

    (Video) Stop Saying "HOW ARE YOU?" Use these alternatives to SOUND LIKE A NATIVE

  3. I’m thinking of you and I’m here if you need anything at all.

  4. Sending you a lot of love today. If you ever want to talk, I’m here.

  5. Hey friend, thank you for _____.

  6. Special option for a friend in crisis, submitted by Liz Fosslein, author of No Hard Feelings, Big Feelings, and illustrator of the popular @lizandmollie Instagram. She suggests saying: "Here are four ways I can support you right now, you tell me which ones you want today, tomorrow, or save for later. 1. I can call you to talk, 2. You can text me at night if you can’t sleep, 3. We can go for a walk, 4. You can come over and hang out.”

I hope this was helpful. I encourage you to go all-in and get the Better Conversations Kit which will give you a better question to use every dang day of the year — this is a freebie of one month 🎁. Once you get the digital download, I recommend putting the images on your phone’s or computer’s desktop wallpaper to help you remember.

Try out these alternatives and see how people respond. If you happen to say “How are you” out of mindless habit when you don’t know what else to say, don’t feel bad or beat yourself up about it. Just be aware and try to be more intentional next time. Experiment and try new things that will strengthen your communication skills and relational muscles. Your friends may thank you.

Kat Vellos
Author of We Should Get Together: The Secret to Cultivating Better Friendships and creator of The Better Conversations Calendar/Kit

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(Video) 8️⃣ alternatives to "How are you?" 🙋‍♂️🙋‍♀️

how are you, resources


What should you say instead of how are you? ›

How have you been? How's everything? How's it going? How are things going?

How do you ask someone how they are doing? ›

Below, some alternatives to the generic “how are you” that are more likely to elicit a candid answer.
  1. How are you today?
  2. How are you holding up?
  3. I've been thinking about you lately. How are you doing?
  4. What's been on your mind recently?
  5. Is there any type of support you need right now?
  6. Are you anxious about anything?
5 Nov 2020

What to ask instead of how was your day? ›

Questions to Ask Instead of 'How Was Your Day? '
  • What was the best part of your day?
  • Did anything surprise you today?
  • Did you read/listen to anything interesting today?
  • Did you take any photos today? ...
  • How can I make your day easier in five minutes?
  • What did you do that was just for you today?
21 Oct 2020

Is how are you a good conversation starter? ›

It can be a good conversation starter, but be prepared with more questions.

How do you ask how are you indirectly? ›

Here's a list of 50 questions you can start asking
  1. What was your favorite moment thus far today?
  2. What brings you in a good mood?
  3. Describe to a 6-year old what you do in life?
  4. What are 3 words that describe you best?
  5. What always makes you smile?
  6. How do you contribute to a better society?

How do you say I like you in a smart way? ›

Try these simple but thoughtful ways to tell someone what they mean to you.
  1. I'm crazy about you.
  2. You're my dream come true.
  3. You take my breath away.
  4. Since you've been around I smile a lot more than I used to.
  5. There is no one I'd rather steal blankets from.
  6. You're my partner in crime.
  7. You look great today and every day.
10 Feb 2014

How do you tell a guy you miss him over text? ›

Choose one or more of the following to tell your man how much you miss him!
  1. I wish you were here right now.
  2. I miss you like a fat kid on a diet misses cake.
  3. Your arms around me felt like home. ...
  4. You don't even have the slightest idea how much I miss you.
  5. One of your hugs would be nice right now.
16 Sept 2022

How do you say happy in a cute way? ›

Let's take a look:
  1. Over the moon. If you say that you are over the moon, you mean that you are very pleased about something. ...
  2. Ecstatic. Feeling or expressing overwhelming happiness or joyful excitement. ...
  3. On cloud nine. To be extremely happy and excited. ...
  4. Head over heels. Madly in love. ...
  5. On top of the World. Extremely Happy.
10 Mar 2020

What can I say instead of are you okay? ›

Use simple questions like, “How are you going?” Or, “What's been happening? I've noticed you seem a bit flat lately.” Mention specific things that you've been concerned about, like, “You don't seem to be your bubbly self lately.” Use open-ended questions such as, “So tell me about …”

Is it polite to ask how are you doing? ›

1 How are you? This is polite, but it's not necessarily a serious inquiry about the other person's well-being. 2 How are you doing? This is a direct inquiry about how a person is feeling in general.

How do you ask a guy if he is alright? ›

Here are just a few tips to help you start the conversation….
  1. Look for signs of distress. Sometimes it's not hard to tell that a friend is going through a rough time. ...
  2. Time it right. ...
  3. Make sure you're ready. ...
  4. Listen carefully. ...
  5. Speak with care. ...
  6. Offer help. ...
  7. Share your story. ...
  8. Remind them how much you care.
23 Oct 2020

What to ask instead of how was your night? ›

How was the evening? Did you sleep peacefully last night? Did you sleep well last night? Hope you had a good night's rest.

How do you casually ask for something? ›

Other phrases for asking something to someone nicely are “DO YOU MIND,” WOULD YOU MIND, COULD I, WOULD IT BE OK IF, WOULD IT BE POSSIBLE, WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO, etc.

How do I ask FWB indirectly? ›

You can say something straightforward like “Hey, I had a lot of fun the other night and would love to do that again, but I should be clear that I'm thinking more of a friends-with-benefits situation rather than dating.

How do you ask a guy how his day went? ›

Questions to Ask Instead of 'How Was Your Day? '
  1. What was the best part of your day?
  2. Did anything surprise you today?
  3. Did you read/listen to anything interesting today?
  4. Did you take any photos today? ...
  5. How can I make your day easier in five minutes?
  6. What did you do that was just for you today?
21 Oct 2020

How do you subtly tell someone you like them over text? ›

If you're shy about talking to your crush directly, flirting over text is a great way to share your feelings. Send him a text to say “hi” and ask a question to break the ice, like “What did you think of biology class today?” You could also send a compliment, a joke, or a funny picture to set a lighthearted mood.

How do you express love through text? ›

I Love You Text Messages
  1. I just wanted to let you know I'm thinking of you! ...
  2. I wish I was there with you! ...
  3. Missing you lots and looking forward to seeing you soon!
  4. Just another reminder of how much I love you! ...
  5. I'm so lucky to have you in my life, and I'm counting the days/hours until I can see you again!
19 Jan 2021

How do you tell someone you care about them deeply? ›

How to Show Someone You Care Through Your Actions
  1. Make them a meal. Food is a universal connector. ...
  2. Give them a hug. Physical touch can be a great comfort to people. ...
  3. Remember important dates. ...
  4. Praise them on social media. ...
  5. Make something for them. ...
  6. Let them pick the movie. ...
  7. Send a text message. ...
  8. Call them on the phone.
17 Sept 2022

How do you give a guy space to miss you? ›

25 Tips For Giving Your Man Some Space
  1. Do not call him every second. ...
  2. Do not ask too many questions. ...
  3. Do not be too available. ...
  4. Have a life of your own. ...
  5. Never intrude on his personal space. ...
  6. Do not make decisions for him. ...
  7. Do not nag. ...
  8. Do not move too quickly in the relationship.
29 Sept 2022

What do Brits say when they are happy? ›

Chuffed. When you're really happy or proud of something, the perfect word in British slang to describe your emotions is chuffed.

How are you in different ways? ›

Typical responses include: Hey, how's it going? Hey, what's up? Hey, what's new?

How do you say it's OK politely? ›

  1. That sounds great, thank you!
  2. Great Plan, looking forward do it!
  3. Okay that sounds great to me, let me know if anything changes in the mean time.
  4. Perfect! Thank you for your work on this!
  5. Okay that sounds great! See you then!
  6. Okay, that works for me. Thanks again!
  7. Okay, thank you for letting me know.
  8. Okay, I agree.

How do you ask someone about their day? ›

Alternatives to “How Was Your Day?”
  1. “What was the most interesting thing you did today?” ...
  2. “Did you get to solve any problems/make anything cool/help anybody today?” ...
  3. “Is your work still challenging/rewarding to you?” ...
  4. “If you could change one thing about your day, what would it be?” ...
  5. “I thought of you today when…”

Is how are you doing today Formal? ›

How you doing is an informal greeting like How's it going.

How do you ask a guy if he's serious about you? ›

10 Questions To Ask To Find Out His Intentions
  1. “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” ...
  2. “What are your feelings about long-term relationships? ...
  3. “What are your plans with me? ...
  4. “How are you feeling about our relationship? ...
  5. “Are you looking for commitment?” ...
  6. “When do you think someone is ready to get married?”
25 Jan 2021

How do you ask someone if they want a relationship? ›

You can ask him directly by saying, “Do you want to make this official? Do you want to become my boyfriend?” If you're uncertain about the status of your relationship, you can ask, “Where do you see this relationship going?”

How was your night in a romantic way answer? ›

What are flirty words to respond to how was your night?
  1. Not as well as I would have liked. ...
  2. You were in my dreams, but I can't tell you what happened because it's too embarrassing.
  3. I had trouble sleeping last night, but I feel much better now.
  4. I had some naughty dreams about you last night…
21 Oct 2022

Should you ask a girl how her day was? ›

Asking her how her day went, or reminding her that you're thinking of her right now, is a romantic gesture all in itself. In fact, it's these tiny gestures that are the bread-and-butter of most relationships.

How do you ask for something in the bedroom? ›

How to ask for what you want in bed: It's sexier (and less awkward) than you might think
  1. Start talking beforehand. ...
  2. Be straightforward about your wants. ...
  3. Emphasize what they're doing right. ...
  4. Ask the right questions. ...
  5. Don't forget to check in. ...
  6. Talk about it after. ...
  7. Encourage them to talk about their wants too.

How do you ask someone to hang out without sounding desperate? ›

Don't sound desperate

If you are planning to ask someone to hang out, don't make it direct. Calm down and ask them out without being pushy or desperate. You can start the conversation with something like, “It's nice talking to you. Would you mind catching up later or sometime?”

How do you ask someone out in platonic? ›

Have an event or activity in mind before asking. Simply asking, "do you want to hang out," without having an idea where will just lead to awkwardness. Furthermore, having something already in mind makes it easier to just be casual about it -- "hey, want to see that concert we talked about this weekend."

What is the most polite way to ask? ›

Here are some better phrases to make polite requests in English:
  • “Do you mind…?.”
  • “Would you mind…?
  • “Could I…?”
  • “Would it be ok if…?”
  • “Would it be possible…?”
  • “Would you be willing to…?”

What's a good flirty text? ›

Flirty texts for him
  • Y/N: Thinking about me?
  • Feeling cuddly? ...
  • Still wearing your sweatshirt…
  • Netflix? ...
  • Can't stop thinking about your lips.
  • How much skin is too much skin to show on our date tonight?
  • You're my favorite veggie—a cute-cumber!
  • Thinking a lot of things about you I can't say…but I could text.
21 May 2022

What question make a girl blush? ›

Flirty questions to ask a girl over text: 9 examples to try
  • What are you doing right now? ...
  • Should we send voice messages instead? ...
  • Which emojis do you use most often? ...
  • What are your biggest turn-ons? ...
  • What are your turn-offs? ...
  • Who was your first crush? ...
  • What's your favorite way to relax? ...
  • Have you ever been naked in public?
7 Oct 2022

What's a good flirty question? ›

Cheeky Flirty Questions to Ask a Girl

What would you do If I kissed you right now? What is your biggest turn on? What is your biggest turn off? Do you prefer cuddling or kissing?

Is it polite to say how are you? ›

1 How are you? This is polite, but it's not necessarily a serious inquiry about the other person's well-being. 2 How are you doing? This is a direct inquiry about how a person is feeling in general.

Are two ways to answer how are you? ›

The correct response is “Fine, and you?” That's it. Fine and you. Or some variation, like “Good, how about yourself?” Or “Doing fine, and you?”

How do you say how are you professionally? ›

Formal email

It is better to express interest in the person's well-being by starting with one of the following statements: I hope all is well. I hope all is well with you. I hope this message finds you well.

How are you doing flirty reply? ›

Better, now that I'm talking to you.”

Texting is also a great way to deepen an intimate connection with someone by flirting, so try to make your response a little playful and intriguing. “How do you want me to be?” “I'd be better if you were with me.” “Extremely good looking, I'd say!”

Is it formal to say how are you doing? ›

“How you doing?” is a popular phrase that you can use to greet people. It's been used as a catchphrase in multiple TV shows. It's best to use this colloquial phrase with friends and family, rather than in formal settings.

What to say instead of asking are you okay? ›

Use simple questions like, “How are you going?” Or, “What's been happening? I've noticed you seem a bit flat lately.” Mention specific things that you've been concerned about, like, “You don't seem to be your bubbly self lately.” Use open-ended questions such as, “So tell me about …”

What to answer to how are you in us? ›

But in American culture in general, when people ask "How are you?," we tend to downplay anything bad, and we usually just answer "Fine, thanks," or "Good." Below are some specific answers you can use.
  • Fine, thanks.
  • How are you? I'm good. How about you?
  • I'm okay, thanks.

How do you professionally say it's up to you? ›

And a more formal and polite way is: Whatever you prefer.

How do you respond smartly? ›

Take a beat, watch your tone, and other techniques to deal with a challenging line of questioning.
  1. Make Sure You Understand The Question. ...
  2. Take Time To Respond. ...
  3. Answer Part Of The Question. ...
  4. Postpone Your Answer. ...
  5. Turn Around the Pronouns. ...
  6. Divert The Question. ...
  7. Give The Asker Some Control. ...
  8. Watch Your Tone.
28 Oct 2016

How do you ask someone to meet formal? ›

How to write a meeting request email
  1. Start with an explanatory subject line. ...
  2. Use a professional salutation. ...
  3. Introduce yourself. ...
  4. State the purpose of the meeting. ...
  5. Suggest a possible date and time. ...
  6. Request for a reply. ...
  7. Proofread before sending. ...
  8. Follow up and remind.
6 Dec 2021


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