Yeah, are you?

A lazy approach to friendship?

Some interactions with people aren’t really worth much! For example, when you start a conversation with someone like this: “Hi, how you doing? You alright?’ and all you get back is a quick “Yeah, are you?” You inevitably respond saying you’re fine, but the emphasis is back to you to follow up with further questions or comments.

This, you may think is to be expected, but I have witnessed a number of people who use the ‘Yeah, are you?’ approach as their way to ending the interaction just as it is starting.

To me, this approach, if it is repeated time after time, is lazy friendship and shows a lack of willingness to interact, with them not wishing to be seen to blank you but hardly embrace the opportunity to chat. If the same person does the same each time they see you, then they may be a ‘Yeah, are you?’ person.


Some of you may be thinking ‘Wow, he’s definitely over-thinking this!’ and maybe I am, but I am certain this happens and is part of some people’s modus operandi. They don’t want to be seen to be dismissive, and will engage minimally if they really have to, but they aren’t encouraging the flow of conversation through this response. Their approach is to seem pleasant enough, and to give you a reply, but not to offer any encouraging signs that they actually would like a more full conversation with you.

I guess we all use this at times sometimes unknowingly, but my main concern is those that use it more often and in a deliberately dismissive manner. If we are on our way through a crowd or in a rush to get somewhere we may just want to recognise that we have seen them and are civil enough to speak, but not having the time to stop and talk. The ‘Yeah, are you?’ types will do this repeatedly and just not want to talk to you.

The vast majority of acquaintances will stop and chat more often than not, or at least have a little back and forth interaction and those are the kind of people that won’t be ‘Yeah, are you?’ people. They sense if you are both just passing each other and have a little interaction without it seeming dismissive or awkward.

Some of these acquaintances probably have more time for you than the ‘Yeah, are you?’ people who are possibly more likely to be seen as a friend. That’s what is difficult here. You think you are going to have a normal friendly conversation with someone you see as a friend, but get the rub-off instead. A one-off time or even a couple of times can be seen as something or nothing, but when it is repeated you do wonder what the point is.

What’s the problem?

A ‘Yeah, are you?’ person will fail to see what the problem is. What is going on in their mind is all that they are focussing on. They don’t need to spend time with you. That kind of person is not going to think about the consequences of this repeat brush-off. They will see it as your problem, not theirs. I’m alright, are you?

One way of looking at this is that they no longer have the time for you. They don’t want to be bothered with you and what you want to talk about. They can’t even use filler conversation for a few short moments. A ‘Yeah, are you?’ person really isn’t worth your time and attention when they are being like this. Change needs to happen and how that happens depends on what approach you take to raising your concerns with them.


What is clear to me is that when you feel yourself becoming a ‘Yeah, are you?’ person yourself, you should start to make yourself available for the people who are wanting to talk to you and to bear in mind that the other person is making the effort and that we should both make the effort to keep the friendship alive.

It takes two to tango and while one will lead, the other should be participating or it goes out of step and becomes a mess.

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