I want to know what might be proper ways to express our regards to others when shaking hands with others in occasions such as church?

I found that when shaking hands with others, often I do not get any reply from others if I say "how are you doing" or "how is it going". So I am wondering why and what are the proper words to say in this context?

  • 1
    For those who voted this question to close: Without leaving any comment at all, your voting to close is opinion-based and too broad. Ironic enough :)
    – Yes
    Commented Sep 15, 2014 at 4:36

1 Answer 1


"How are you doing?" and "How is it going?" are correct things to ask when shaking hands (especially with people you have already met, like your fellow church-goers).

Many people treat these questions as perfunctory greetings (like "Hello") instead of as genuine questions. Thus, it is OK for people to not respond to them; they probably do not even realize you asked a question. (I sometimes get strange looks when I treat "How are you doing" as a question worth a short but thoughtful answer.)

"Howdy" is a less formal version of "How are you doing" that has become a synonym of "Hello", and so is rarely treated as a genuine question: ell.stackexchange.com/questions/4526/do-you-really-answer-how-do-you-do-with-how-do-you-do

  • Thank you so much :) You just hit the point! Now I know the problem is not at my words. Yep, next time I should try "howdy", that sounds cute
    – Yes
    Commented Sep 14, 2014 at 4:50
  • I would suggest not saying 'Howdy' unless you are trying to be funny or are in a part of the country that does use "Howdy" as a normal greeting (In which case you'd have heard people using it by now). I'd suggest "[It's] Good to see you." to which you may or may not get a "[Good to see] You too."
    – Jim
    Commented Sep 14, 2014 at 5:30
  • @Comeseeconquer- If someone says, "How are you doing" to me, I typically will respond with a "Great, how 'bout you" or a "Fine, thanks, and you?" regardless of whether I'm actually great/fine or not. I assume people are just trying to be personable/polite and are not really interested in my problems.
    – Jim
    Commented Sep 14, 2014 at 5:33
  • I like a big "Howdy!" but I live in Texas, so it's not that uncommon. Also, "It's nice to see you (again)." works well because it doesn't really need a response like "how are you?".
    – ColleenV
    Commented Sep 14, 2014 at 13:42

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .