This has befuddled me for years, believe it or not.

As a male unsocialized with other men, I have no idea what to do when a guy asks me that (women never do, they say "hi").

In the gym I go to I still feel very uncomfortable with the jock/male/sportstalking guy crowd.

I keep my head down, get my workout done and flee. But there are occasional times when I have to lock eyes with someone, and here it comes; "How's it goin." he will say. I will bluster out a "fine, thanks" but by then I'm usually talking to his back or simply airspace.

Today a guy (some ex military manly man) I'd been avoiding finally bumped into me; "How's it goin." he says. "Hello" I reply, treating it as the greeting it seems to be.

"I ASKED YOU HOW YOU ARE DOING" he replies loudly, a hint of annoyance in his voice. "Fine, thank you." I chirp embarrassedly.

So now I'm really confused; is he being a jerk, or am I? It's come to where I don't want to make any eye contact with anyone there as I haven't the foggiest idea what to say. I don't know who to ask for guidance on this, because it seems to be in the same category of asking how football is played; I should know already. 

I don't.

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You are over thinking it. It is just a filler for people who have to be talking, who think they owe you something because you happen to be sharing the same space or made eye contact. Just say "alright" and move on.


 

Agreed.  You're overthinking it.  It's a colloquialism which means essentially, "how are you?"  In the New York metro area, the common variant is, "how you doin'?"  For that matter, "howdy" is a contraction of "how do you do," which is the same thing.

 

It's not necessarily intended as a way to initiate a conversation, it's just a casual greeting.  99% of the time, the response will be something along the lines of, "fine," regardless of whether that's true.

Well, it just seems weird to say "fine, thanks" to someone's back.

Thanks for asking this!  I've had similar experiences.  Now I just say "fantastic" when i get that phrase, but then I wonder if im being impolite by not asking how they're doing. 

Im pretty sure most guys don't expect a response to "how ya doin?" and its just a greeting, but I look forward to reading other's responses to this.

It seems like it is used as a greeting; just seems like a clumsy way to greet someone, with verbiage meant to start a conversation.

Ok; so the man was an ass? Very confusing.

Yes, he was an ass. You hold no obligation to answer his question to you, even if he thought he was being nice and social.

Yes, he was an ass. He took the opportunity to be nasty to you. It was completely unnecessary.

I think a good response would be a simple "Hey. Good. You?"

That's my answer to "how's it hanging." "How's it going" gets good thanks, how are you?" or "I'm great man, how are things with you." The jerk Carl encountered may have a hearing problem, or is really simply a douche.

My go-to for this greeting is:

"Good, thanks, you?"

I don't expect a response. For me that response just means "Hello back", but I also avoid pissing off someone like your ex-military jerk.

Davis, that response works better for the slightly out of date expression, "how's it hangin'," but, yeah.

I'd forgotten about this expression! And the typical response was always "a little to the left/right".

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