Is it Rude To Ask How You Are Back?

“How are you?” 

It’s a common greeting in North America and English-speaking nations. 

But, are you supposed to say it back? Or, is it rude to ask how are you back?

Read on below and discover the full-length answer!

Is it Rude to Ask How Are You Back?

It is no strange thing to be greeted with “how are you”, it is equally not strange to say how are you back (after answering the question, briefly, of course). It isn’t rude whatsoever to ask someone how they are when they’ve just asked you the same. 

In most cases, the opposite is also true: if you do not inquire back as to how someone is, who has just inquired as to how you are, it is rude.

How Rude Is it?


Asking how are you back rates 1 out of 10 on the rude meter. It is most often considered polite to ask how you are back. Even more, with friends or family, it may seem rude if you don’t ask how are you back.

Why is it Not Rude?

It is not rude at all to ask someone how are you once they’ve asked you the same. A friend or family member that cares about you and how you are, in fact, often expects you to ask them back (in anticipation of the fact that you genuinely care about them as well). 

It is most often when you do not ask how are you back that people find something rude about the exchange of greetings.

Other Options to Do Instead

In North America specifically, there are all sorts of other options to do instead of asking how are you back. That’s because, in North American countries, the phrase how are you more often than not is simply used as a way to say hello. 

Saying how are you isn’t an actual inquiry as to how you are really doing, in these cases. That means you are not obligated to ask someone back how are they doing. You can simply answer them, say thanks, and hello. 

Common Questions

Are you supposed to say how are you back?

In the western hemisphere, you are not actually expected to say how are you back because the phrase is rhetorical. Instead, you can respond to how are you as if the person merely said hello to you.

How to respond to how are you back from someone?

When someone says how are you back, quickly answer them and thank them for asking. If they don’t say it back, there is nothing strange about it (they’ve just taken your “how are you” as a standard greeting rather than a genuine question).

Why don’t people ask how are you back?

Not all people consider how are you as a serious question. More often than not, especially in North America, people take how are you as a standard greeting interchangeable with “hi” and “hello”.

What to say to how are you?

When someone asks you how you are, it is polite to answer their question briefly (even with a single word, like fine, or great), thank them, and either ask them back or move into a deeper conversation.