In Russian, there are many different ways to respond to someone asking “How are you?” What's more, Russian social norms are different to how people act elsewhere, so there's room for confusion amid the variety.
With that in mind, we’ve listed the top ways to answer “How are you?” in Russian according to how you’re feeling and what you want to say.
Please note, when Russians speak, they really do tend to share how they truly feel. With that in mind, hopefully these different ways to express how you’re feeling will help contribute to you developing more substantive relationships and experiencing more interesting conversations with Russians. By and large, Russians are genuine people and can detect an inauthentic person from a mile away.
Please refer here if you'd like to learn more about how to ask "How are you?" in Russian.
Russians are less emotive in everyday speech than, say, Americans. In English, the classic, neutral ways to greet someone is by saying you’re “good,” “fine,” or perhaps even "great." In Russian, there are many neutral ways to say how you are in Russia. Please see below for examples.
The most common way a Russian will say how they are is using the word “нормально” (“normal”).
Another common way to say how you are is to use the word “хорошо” (“good”). Emotionally, when Russians say this, though, they’re really saying “fine” more than “good.”
One neutral reply that foreigners at first often don’t understand is “Ничего, спасибо” (lit., nothing, thanks). The phrase expresses the meaning “nothing is wrong.” If you use this, you will sound well and truly Russian.
To say “ok” in Russian, use “в порядке” (lit., in order). Russians will typically either use this phrase with the first person pronoun or by saying “everything is ok.”
To say “not bad” in Russian, use “неплохо.” You can either use the word on its own or with the first person pronoun.
When Russians give you a positive reply to “How are you?” they really mean it. In English, and especially in American English, there is a tendency to say you’re feeling wonderful when really that may not be the case. For Russians, when they express themselves, they almost always do it earnestly (it’s quite refreshing to be around).
Here are some common examples of how Russians may express their good mood:
There are a number of ways of saying how you’re feeling in Russian, ranging from normal negative expressions to the catastrophic.