How You Doin'?

Photo of Greg Tamblyn and conference attendee with speech bubbles:


People ask me all the time what's an easy way to be more playful and spontaneous. How can they have more fun every day, when their lives are so busy and the news is so serious?

I tell 'em that in my experience the easiest way is this:
try not to give a serious answer to any question that doesn't absolutely require it.

Okay, they say, so what's an easy way to start doing that?

Well, what's the one question you get asked all day long?

It's "How are you?" or one of its cousins, like "How's it going?" or "How you doin'?"

Normally we just give a quick "fine" or "okay" or"cool" or whatever. Sometimes we might even go as far as "great!" or "terrific!"

But it's almost always pretty automatic, isn't it?

So what if instead of that, you gave some wacky answer that made the other person perk up, smile, or even laugh out loud. It's not hard to do. All you need is two or three funny answers parked in your brain, and permission from yourself to use them.

Here are several of my favorites. Some of these are my own, and some are from participants in my LaughterJam Humor Workshops.

NOTE: I have a new book coming out soon. One of the chapters is an expansion of this post, with dozens of funny answers to this question. But this group here is plenty to get you started.

"How You Doin'?"

  • Still getting away with it. 
  • Parts of me are excellent. 
  • I feel a lot more like I do now than I did awhile ago.
  • You first, I need a baseline.
  • Pretty good since the sex change 
  • Diagonally parked in a parallel universe 
  • Vertically challenged, horizontally gifted.
  • Still 80% water 
  • My DNA says I’m a Neanderthal 
  • Still a big bag of happy atoms. 
  • I ain’t had this much fun since the hog ate my bad uncle 
  • Glass half full 
  • Stranger than fiction 
  • Compared to what?
  • can see me?

Here's an example of how well it can work:

On Southwest Airlines you always board through the galley, then turn right to go down the aisle. I was on a SW flight from Florida back to KC, and as I stepped into the galley, the flight attendant said, "Welcome aboard. How are you?"

I said, "I'm hungry. Steak and lobster for lunch?"

She laughed and said, "Sure! How do you like your steak?"

I said, "Rare."

She said, "That's good, because any steak on this airline would be extremely rare."

I laughed and said, "Well done."

Not bad!  That little exchange lifted me up and made me happy for the rest of the day. I think it did her too, because every time she came down the aisle we locked eyes and smiled.

Of course you're not always going to hit a home run like that. Sometimes it's going to fall flat, and other times people will just nod and smile, or laugh, or even just look at you funny. A lot of it depends on your readiness and willingness to just try. The main thing is you're giving yourself permission to be playful!

So you're prepared. You have a couple of your favorite answers in your mental back pocket, ready to unleash. Do it for a week and then try out 2 or 3 new answers. See which ones are the most fun and work best for you.

If you do this regularly, you'll notice a gradual change in how you interact with other people.

Then you can try answering other questions with non-serious answers, like:

"What do you do, anyway?"




Have fun!

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