Give Up On “How Are You?”
(and try these alternatives)


Australian enterprise Awkward Silence have already been getting international recognition for revolutionising conversation, and now they have set their sights on giving the last rites to the benign standard ‘how are you?’.

People constantly toss around the opener without a back-up to get the conversation rolling.

Awkward Silence owner & chief writer Steven Benbow explains why everyone needs to give up on ‘how are you?’ and try alternatives.

“The lines are blurred now as to whether ’how are you?’ is merely a greeting or a question beckoning a response, it’s just far too common to be taken sincerely” said Mr Benbow.  

Awkward Silence are suggesting a number of alternative ice-breakers that people can use regularly including ‘What have you learnt this week?’, ‘What have you achieved today?”, and ‘What are you reading at the moment?’.

“If you bump into a friend, you need something irregular but tangible to engage a response” he said.

“For example, asking ‘What’s been the highlight of your day?’ puts a tangible focus on a question that is still essentially ‘how are you?’, but is more likely to get interaction happening”.

The appeal of these openers compared to the redundant ‘how are you?’ is that these questions are clearly inviting a genuine response, and they’ll get new answers week in week out.

If you opt for non-questions, you’ll get non-answers in your non-conversation and end up in a non-relationship.

“If you opt for non-questions, you’ll get non-answers in your non-conversation and end up in a non-relationship.”

“Asking ‘what have you learnt this week?’ is a great way to not only recall something interesting but also to learn something new” said Mr Benbow.

“Conversations have a tendency to snowball once they get off to a start that has real merit, which is why people need to try alternative openers.”

It may be the most commonly asked question, ‘How are you?’, but few care about the answer, making it a dead opener.

Awkward Silence are making friendships come alive each day with their engaging conversation starters. How are you?

Will you help us with our social revolution? Let's get our conversation expert on your show.


For more information or to organise an interview or photographs, please contact Steven Benbow on 61422 191 652 or by emailing