“How are you” thing

  • Hi, how are you?
  • I’m good, Thank you! How about you?

Or:

  • Hi, how are you?
  • I’m good thanks, how about you?
  • I’m good too, thank you.

Super kind version, dedicated to closer people / colleagues:

  • Hi love, how are you?
  • I’m good love, how are you?

(….you don’t answer for that one).

It always amazes me and makes me smile to hear that around from Irish and British people at my office. Such lovely people these Irish and British. Maybe just sometimes it annoys me too. They ask just to ask and to be polite. They don’t ask for an answer. They ask to show you, that they have noticed you. To tell you – hey, I don’t ignore you. I don’t ignore the fact that you are here. I ask you to show I care that you’re here.  I ask you all of this just to say hi. At least that’s my understanding of this “how are you” thing/issue, that we pretty much don’t have in Poland at all.

Polish people never ask in this way. We say hi to say hi and to greet someone. We ask – What’s new? (co slychac?)…. if we really want to know what’s new and what’s going on with someone. We ask so we expect the answer. We ask and it’s normal for us to be straight whether it’s great or it’s really bad news. I notice that Irish, British or Americans often find it really strange that Polish / Eastern Europeans take this question very literally and so we tend to answer the question “How are you” in a way to explain all our daily life issues, including our life’s complaints and discuss recent funerals in families etc.

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On the other hand I hear that Polish find this Irish / British / American thing about how are you thing a bit superficial.  “What’s the point to ask if the person doesn’t expect the answer?” or – “Americans and British aren’t nice. They just seem nice but in fact they aren’t”.

Well….I don’t know the truth and I assume there might be many truths on this planet but speaking about myself, I’ve found I am nicer to people thanks to this “How are you” thing and the language culture which seems a bit more social and interactive in a positive way. English seems to have a slightly different language culture than Polish that makes people feel nicer and as a result we get closer with others. Language and culture are never separated I believe and culture creates and modifies the language but the language can change the culture / personalise it as it does in my case a little bit I guess. I like the positivity it brings and I feel it increases the morale in our everyday lives.

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