Student or Learner
I was wondering if and how people are supposed to answer the question
How are you doing?
because in all the movies I've seen recently no-one answers. And they keep telling in school you either answer "Fine thanks" or just repeat that question making it sound like a statement.
So I would like to know what to do after being asked. Just answering the question always confuses me, because no-one else does.
Anyone help me?
(Not a teacher)
It would be interesting to see the examples you are seeing in films where the people don't say anything, as that seems strange to me.
There is no correct way to answer the question. The answer depends on two things - 1. how you are feeling, 2. how much information you wish to disclose to the other person. Most people don't want to tell people their actual feelings, especially when these are negative, so they simply say 'fine, thanks'. Of course, people might say 'fine' because 'fine' describes their mood at that moment.
Any adjective of emotion/feeling is correct - which you use depends on those two things I said.
The only time I would think ignoring someone is appropriate is when they are passing in the street. Often, when two people are walking past each other in the street and they know each other, one of them will say 'Hi, how are you doing?', but this is merely a social thing. The person doesn't actually wish to stop and talk to the person and normally the other person replies only with 'Hi', they don't answer the question.