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Some people having polite conversation at a party.

Does the following scenario make you feel anxious? You are in line at Target, and someone behind you recognizes you from an old job you had and asks, "How are you?” and you reply, “Fine.” Then, both of you stare at each other for 10 seconds, waiting for someone to say something next.

Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW, suggests that before we answer the question, we should attempt to ascertain if the person we’re talking to really wants to know. Are they being pleasant or just trying to make small talk? If you think they want to see how you’re doing, feel free to disclose what’s happening in your life.

But if it’s just a stop-and-chat or you don’t know the person you’re talking to, then it’s fine to respond with a clever response that may elicit a chuckle or spread some goodwill without telling them your life story. You can easily replay with a "Fine, how are you?" and put the conversational ball back in their court.


However, if you are looking for a more clever response, a Redditor who goes by Myloceratops crowd-sourced the best answers to the big question and received over 900 responses. Most of them were witty comebacks to the question that we can all tuck into our pack pockets to use when we want to see more interesting than someone who just gives a pat “fine” response.

Here are 17 of the best responses to someone asking, “How are you?” for you to use the next time you're making small talk.

1.

"I have two stock answers: Not too bad. Distinctly average." — Floydie1962.

2.

"Saw a shirt I loved: 'The horrors persist, as do I.'" — Evilbunnyfoofoo

3.

"I kinda like the Norwegian, 'Up and not crying."' — 5tr4nGe

4.

"Dying a little more every day." — Much-Signifigance212

5.

"Do you really want to know?" — Hatjepoet

6.

"In my country, people sometimes say 'Kann nie genug klagen.' It’s roughly translated to 'I can’t complain enough.'" — OldProblemsNeverDie

7.

"'I'm on the right side of the dirt' is one of my go-to responses." — JiveTurkeyJunction

8.

"Feeling good and looking better I’ll make a burlap sack feel like the cashmere sweater." — Late_Review_8761

9.

"It's a dog-eat-dog world and I'm wearing Milk-Bone underwear." — 27_crooked_craibu

10.

"If I was any better, there would be two of me." — not_that_rick

11.

"At work, it's 'Better by the hour.'"— Otherwise-Tune5413

12.

"'Oh you know, living the dream' is the only one I’ve got ready to go lately." — KittyBooBoo2016

13.

"Busier than a one-legged cat trying to bury a sh** in a frozen pond." — SpoonNZ

14.

"''I think I’m going to make it' usually gets a chuckle." — Bebandy

15.

"“Im good, and you?' I’m Gen X. I don’t burden other people with my problems." — Mrbootz

16.

"My next complaint will be my first complaint." — NoGood

17.

"'I feel like a silly goose today!'Guarantee they’ll never try to make small talk with you ever again." — Front-Craft-804