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As a native Japanese speaker, I have never said お元気ですか to someone I meet almost everyday. You can tell, at a glance, if they are 元気 or not today, if you meet them everyday, right? お元気ですか seems to me a greeting in letter or in phone call, that is, when you can't see them. You can say お元気ですか when you meet someone you haven't met for a while but still ...


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As you said, it's all situational. You can use「おかげさまで」when you are asked how you are by someone that is superior to you, like your boss, 「先輩 」or professor. If replying to a friend in a conversation, you can just say 「うん、元気」.In short, it is all about social rank.


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Replying with 元気です sounds lighthearted a little bit, because お元気ですか is so rare that you won't hear it unless you meet again your acquaintance who you haven't seen for long. Well, it depends on you after all.



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