I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with the question “How are you?” On one hand, it’s nice to know someone cares enough to ask you that kind of question. On the other hand, how much information do you give? What if you’re really not doing well? Do you answer honestly and risk a potentially awkward moment? Do you blurt out a simple “Fine, how are you?” in response?
With that in mind, I wrote this highly stereotypical take on how the 16 Myers-Briggs® personality types might respond to the question. Keep in mind, this isn’t meant to be taken seriously; it’s more meant to be a bit of fun. But I’d love to hear your thoughts on the question in the comments. How do you respond to “How are you?” Are you honest? Do you evade the question? Do you love it or hate it? Let me know!
If you DO want a more serious, informative look at how to make conversation with the 16 personality types, you can check out the article I wrote on that here: What Each Myers-Briggs® Personality Type REALLY Wants to Talk About
How the 16 Myers-Briggs® Personality Types Respond to the Question, “How Are You?”
They spit out an efficient, bullet-pointed rundown of their day, all while simultaneously answering emails, signing off on three separate reports, and squeezing in a 5K run. Just as you’re trying to comprehend their superhuman productivity, they swing around, give you a firm handshake that could compete with a hydraulic press, and leave you feeling a little less-than-stellar about your “accomplishment” of finally managing to keep a houseplant alive for more than a week.
They will happily recount their day, noting the successful bake sale they organized and the ten stray cats they managed to find homes for. Then they seamlessly pivot the conversation to your second cousin’s root canal that happened three days ago, in a town you’ve never heard of. Wait, how did they even know that? Their uncanny knack for knowing your family tree better than you do could make Ancestry.com file for bankruptcy.
Immediately engulfs you in a bear hug that is equal parts warmth, comfort, and a sudden realization of your own personal space. They release you only to flash a smile so charismatic, you’re momentarily blinded by the brilliance. Before you can regain your bearings, they have launched into an inspiring monologue about purpose, passion, and potential that is so compelling you start seriously considering adopting a stray cat and finally starting that ‘knitting-for-peace’ project. Before you know it, you’re setting life goals and penciling in a date to discuss your progress next week!
Calmly informs you they’ve just closed a lucrative deal, establishing a new branch of their empire in a time zone you didn’t even know existed. They glance at their gold pocket watch (because yes, they flaunt a pocket watch), and you realize they’ve managed to amass a small fortune, establish new partnerships, and conquer two continents in the time it took you to formulate your question. They tip their cap in your direction, before disappearing into a cloud of cigar smoke and ambition, leaving you to wonder if you’re doing enough with your life.
Takes a deep breath and prepares to give you the most dramatic retelling of their day yet. Within several minutes they’ve managed to dance to the song on the radio, recount their day, fix a sandwich, and get you to care deeply about the plight of sloths in Costa Rica.
Doesn’t answer the question, but simply pulls out their phone and shows you all the exciting adventures they’ve been on lately. You’re left feeling both envious and exhausted just from scrolling through their social media.
Barely waits for you to finish the question before they grab your hands, eyes sparkling with excitement, ready to share an impresive tale of how they dreamed up an app that will make a game out of random acts of kindness, wrote a sonnet about the sunrise, and challenged an eight-year-old to a cartwheel competition, all before 10 AM. You end up feeling happily dazed, and also slightly concerned about their coffee intake.
Looks you in the eye, chuckling lightly before launching into a full-blown debate about the philosophical implications of asking “how are you?”. Before you know it, they’ve managed to dismantle every belief you’ve had regarding social norms and replaced them with a whole new framework for understanding existence.
Gazes at you with a soft smile, takes a moment to ponder the question, then gives you a well-measured and polite answer about their day. All while offering you a cough drop (how did they know that your throat was itchy?) and adjusting a painting that was 0.001 degrees off on the wall.
Raises an eyebrow at your question, convinced that you probably don’t actually care how they’re feeling so you’re just being polite. Throws out a “Fine, and you?” before getting back to their tax spreadsheets.
Gives you a knowing look, a soft nod, and before you know it, you’re sprawled out on an imaginary couch, confessing your deepest fears about the impermanence of life. They nod empathetically, offering you a tissue for ’emotional support’ as they weave together a narrative about your life that is so insightful, even Freud would have taken notes.
Stares at you for a moment, analyzing your question before giving a concise and efficient answer. They then proceed to explain the science behind why “how are you?” is actually not a productive or meaningful question in any way.
Shrugs their shoulders and gives a noncommittal answer. But then spends the entire day wondering why you asked them that, and if they should have answered differently.
Squints at you suspiciously before muttering a curt “I’m good”. However, they can’t help but use the opportunity to showcase the latest gadget they made, a pen that also doubles as a 4-in-1 screwdriver set, a laser pointer, and a tiny flamethrower.
Takes a deep breath before giving you an emotionally honest answer that leaves both of you feeling slightly uncomfortable. They then apologize for being too intense and ask you if you’ve ready any good books lately. When you say you don’t like to read, they look at you as if they’ve just swallowed a particularly unappetizing bug. After a quick, pained smile, they mumble something about needing to water their collection of rare, endangered ferns, and practically sprint away.
Looks at you, and around the room, with a mix of curiosity and confusion, wondering if you meant to ask someone behind them. Convinces themselves that you did, in fact, mean to ask someone else and goes back to their thoughts, feeling relieved that they didn’t have to come up with a response.
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