Quote of the Month:

"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing." - Walt Disney
{Past Quotes}

Friday, June 21, 2013

How Are You?

America is different from other countries in a lot of ways. One of them being the way we greet each other.

I work for Advantage Sales and Marketing once in a while giving out samples of alcohol at Albertsons stores. To get customers attention I say hi or hello and I get a few different reactions. Sometimes people will nod at me, sometimes they'll say hi back, but a lot of times they say, "How are you?" and then just keep walking without really waiting for a response. I always try to answer with something they won't expect like "I'm doing fantastic!" as opposed to the typical, "I'm good. How are you?" and then of course throw in a, "Would you like to try some wine?". 

I find it strange that this has become so common a phenomenon. Why ask someone how they are and then take off without expecting a response? According to eDiplomat.com, in America, when someone asks how you are, this is not a request for information about your well-being; it is simply a pleasantry.They obviously don't care how I am, and yet they ask it. This is not the same in every culture though. In many cultures, if someone was to walk by you and ask how you are and then continue walking without waiting for a response they would be seen as "uncaring", "superficial" or even "rude". In other cultures, when someone inquires as to how you are they actually care and expect a response -  one more so than "good". 

Even though this is a common greeting in America, I've never found myself saying it in this way before. When I do greet people at work I do sometimes ask, "how are you?" but I'm actually hoping to get a response and perhaps further the conversation as I serve them. 

I've been looking on some websites, such as eDiplomat, and looking over their suggestions for doing business with Americans. Apparently we are very informal, like firm handshakes, don't really care how you're doing, like to have our smiles returned, and we're uncomfortable with silence. Huh. 

There's lots of interesting info on that website for many different countries. Other countries actual care how you're doing, haha. Even before I started doing this research I was noticing how strange it was for people to be greeting me with, "how are you?". 

We Americans are so odd... 
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