cover image

Illustration by Sidra Dahhan

‘How are you?’

A guide to deceptively responding to one of NYUAD’s most commonly used greetings.

Feb 12, 2023

This article is a contribution to The Gazelle's satire column.
You battle the door out your dorm building, racing against time. It’s 11 a.m. and you are late for class (maybe it's time to accept that you're the problem, not the 8 a.m. class start time). Maybe you will make it on time, if you could just run a bit faster while maintaining the semblance of having your life in control. But right then, you see a familiar face and it asks —
“Hey! How are you?”
Ah, the age-old form of greeting, one that NYU Abu Dhabi students in particular seem exceedingly attached to. Often uttered on the highline or the sidewalks when one is clearly in a hurry, and not in a state of mind to talk about their well-being.
We usually maneuver around this question in different ways — “Good, good”, always twice, they do say liars talk; or “Fine”, short and sweet, enough to replace the awkward eye contact between passing strangers.
But sometimes none of the above works, and you’ve avoided it enough, and you actually have to answer the question. When someone actually close to you asks, or when the question is asked in a setting that doesn't require an answer within five seconds, you’re compelled to ask yourself —
How am I?
That. That is where it all spirals downward.
After you’ve faced the weight of scraping through the mask of togetherness and discovering the true, rather messy state of your well-being, there comes the next affliction — actually answering.
There’s the option of answering honestly, and burdening the other person with the choice of either becoming your therapist for five minutes or ignoring your cry for help. It never ends well. But then again, lies never do either.
Or you could tone it down, say “I’m very busy” instead of “I feel like the need for academic validation is holding me at gunpoint,” or “I have a lot of classes” instead of “If my mind doesn’t kill me, my professors will.” But then if you’re going to be untruthful and euphemize your tragedies, you might as well say nothing at all and stick to “Good, good”.
Of course, there is always the option of using humor: this one everyone loves and can accomplish with little to no effort. It is also my personal favorite. Play it off as a joke, say you are “hungry”, “bored”, “awake”, “late”, “alive”, or alternatively “dying” (don’t forget to laugh at this one). Bonus points if it’s witty and makes the other person laugh. Good job, you’re cool, no one knows you are a fraud.
Alas, by the time you zone back in, your conversation partner is already on the other side of the highline. Oh well, guess they were not expecting a legitimate answer anyway.
And after all, there’s always the next awkward interaction to avoid, another crisis to mask, another semester of lies.
Tiesta Dangwal is Deputy Features Editor. Email them at
gazelle logo