BERKELEY, Calif. – A research team at the UC Berkeley Department of Linguistics released a watershed report early Friday morning positing the existence of a second possible response to being asked “How are you?” in addition to “Good.”
“This study has the potential to revolutionize how we communicate with one another,” said Professor Terry Regier, the lead researcher on the project. “Before I evaluated our findings, I operated on autopilot during every interaction I ever had. I told so many people that I was ‘good’ when I was not, in fact, good. But now I have the option to say I’m ‘okay,’ which is really freeing. Who knew there were so many ways to tell people how you’re doing?”
Undergrad Research Assistant Wendy Stinton went on to explain the rigorous methodology of the study.
“First, we examined the entirety of the English language and identified all of the adjectives. Then we eliminated every word that seemed like it could convey some sense of deeper emotion or presence in the moment,” Stinton said. “Once we had a tight, snappy list of empty, inauthentic descriptors for someone’s state of being, we codified them as multiple choice answers to the question ‘How are you?’ and email blasted it to the UC Berkeley student body. Lo and behold, out of nearly 40 responses, two students said they were ‘okay.’”
While one of those two respondents was a bot, the other was an actual student, business administration major Joseph Langley.
“I felt more comfortable being vaguely honest about how I was doing given the low-pressure, isolated nature of digital communication,” Langley said when asked to elaborate about his atypical response to feigned-interest in his mental and emotional condition. “If somebody asked me how I was doing in person, that’s too fucking high stakes. Even if I were to answer genuinely, that’s putting a lot on the other person. Because I’m fucking terrified of vulnerability, I know everybody else is too.”
At press time, Regeir and his research team responded to inquires of how they felt about the results of the study saying, “Pretty good.”