Responses have been ranked in order from most to least acceptable.
So, how are you doing?
I’m well, thanks! How are you?
Just lie! It’s so easy! Nailed it.
I’m okay, what have you been up to?
A classic deflect. Before you know it, the askers will be gabbing away about themselves.
Oh, you know!
Do they know? Probably not, and they don’t need to.
I’ve been better.
This is vague enough that you can pass off your existential despair as hanger, or just needing your morning coffee.
Don’t speak to me.
Okay, not the most tactful answer. Be wary of this one, for it may yield results of ‘what’s wrong with you!’ a question to which you have near infinite answers.
The Lizard-People have taken over my brain! I am a vessel for the frothy passions of Beelzebub! I eat spiders for brunch!
This is a very tricky one to pull off. Only attempt if you no longer wish to remain a friend or acquaintance of the individual with whom you are conversing.
I’ve actually been struggling lately. At times the weight of all the pain and injustice in the world feels like too much of a burden for a single person to bear. I spend hours questioning whether, in the grand scheme of things, my life has any meaning at all. Sometimes I find comfort in that emptiness and solitude. Other times, I feel as though my actions hold no weight. My mere existence is not enough to better the world, so does that mean, by default, I am making it worse? To what extent are my hopes for a better, more peaceful, coexistence merely selfish acts to avoid personal pain and discomfort, or worse, the awkwardness of dealing with the pain and discomfort of others? Is everything I do just gluttonous, hedonistic, self serving fuel masquerading as an attempt to be a normal, functioning adult? And on that note, why is it that the mere functions of being a human seem absolutely crushing to me at times. Am I the only person who struggles to shower, brush my teeth, and eat on a daily basis? I spend all my time asking rhetorical questions to the universe. What’s the point of it all? Will I ever find love? Will I ever love myself? Do I use enough exclamation points when messaging my boss that I don’t look like a bitch, but not so many that I seem frivolous? Do my friends even like me, or are they just upholding an elaborate, painstakingly detailed rouse as an act of mockery or pity? I keep searching for the answers, but they always seem to escape me like that one defining detail that would make sense of the dream you just woke up from. Although I will likely keep grappling with these problems for the entirety of my physical existence (and possibly beyond, but that’s a whole other wormhole), I am comforted by the fact that you’ve reached out and connected with me. I am thankful for your existence in my life, and the fact that, through some coincidence of the universe, our paths have crossed. How are you?
Avoid this answer at all costs.