Apr 212009
 

Something that used to surprise me is that when that an American meets a random person who just happens to be walking along the street, they’re quite likely to ask, ‘How are you doing?’ This is someone they don’t know (let alone have been formally introduced to) and who they’re unlikely to meet again. Aside from the intrusiveness of the question, do they really want to know?
So is this fake friendliness? I don’t think so. I think it’s rather like a Tagalog speaker who greets people with ‘Where are you going?’ expecting the answer ‘Over there’; or a Taiwanese speaker who greets you with ‘Have you eaten yet?’, when they have no intention of inviting you for a meal. What we have here is a ritual, and Brits have plenty of rituals as well, of course. When a customer asks us to do something bothersome and we say, ‘I’d be happy to’ instead of an American, ‘No problem’, who’s being more honest and straightforward?

 Posted by at 12:39 am

  5 Responses to “How are you doing?”

  1. Hey, didn’t know you had a blog!

    Welcome to the blogosphere Vicki, it’s great fun but be warned you’ll soon find yourself randomly stopping in the middle of the street with ‘oh, that’d be a great idea for my blog’ thoughts, it’s a bit all engaging!

    And the next time someone says, ‘how are you doing?’ You’ll answer ‘blogging, I’m blogging good.’

    Cheers,
    Karenne

  2. Blogging good, eh? Ha! I shall look forward to that happy day…
    Well yes, nobody knows I have a blog because I didn’t until a couple of days ago. And truth is I’m a bit bemused and bewildered to find myself here, Karenne.
    Thank you so much for stopping by.

  3. […] here for more on an AmE greeting and here for more on indirect […]

  4. […] here for more on an AmE greeting and here for more on indirect requests  Posted by Vicki at 11:44 […]

  5. […] here for more on an AmE greeting and here for more on indirect requests  Posted by Vicki at 11:44 […]

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