I'm very curios to know about the meaning of "お元気ですか?". This could be the very basic question. But once I asked my office colleague(Japanese Native) "お元気ですか?". so his reply was very shocking to me. He replied me something like "Do you feel I am sick?".

But as per the study I thought Its simple meaning as "How are you?". So now I'm curios to know some other better option to use Instead of "お元気ですか" or I did some mistake at the moment? Please guide/suggest some better options, when we meet usually to person but maybe once in a day.


2 Answers 2


To a co-worker I would use something like "最近どうですか?忙しいですか?", etc. instead. If you haven't seen the co-worker for a few months, a "元気にしてましたか?" would sound natural as well I think.

If you want to fill silence when with a co-worker I recommend you make obvious observations about the weather; "寒いですねぇ" or "暑いですねぇ", "明日台風がくるみたいですねぇ", etc.

お元気ですか is translated as "how are you" but it's just not used as often as "how are you" in English.

  • :Thank you!! And Yes I have seen many people who start their conversion by asking about weather and all!! But is it okay to say "最近どうですか?忙しいですか?" to any superior person in office?
    – Irfan
    Nov 19, 2018 at 0:36
  • 1
    In my office it would be fine. If I was talking to a company director or someone I hardly know, I might make it more polite by saying something like 最近は如何でしょうか?お忙しいでしょうか?, etc.
    – Alex
    Nov 20, 2018 at 3:37

They tend to take that "how are you ?" as a "are you alright ? / is there a problem ?" , so I think it is better to not ask as long as you dont think they have a problem.


A) Your co-worker seems alright today so you just say "Hi" and everything is good.

B) Your co-worker seems a bit sick or seems to have a problem. In this case you can ask "お元気ですか"

That's just what I think so I don't know if it helped.

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    @田中さん: Thank you for sharing your idea, but my focus is to know is that "What else should I use instead of お元気ですか?"!!! Or is it something bad habit to ask some superior person?
    – Irfan
    Nov 12, 2018 at 6:54

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