How Are You Holding Up? - Meaning, Origin and Usage

"How are you holding up?" is an empathetic phrase used in conversation to ask a person how they are feeling. However, it's not always the best choice of words for the situation.

This post unpacks everything you need to know about the meaning and origin of the saying. We'll also look at how to use this phrase in conversation.

How Are You Holding Up? Meaning

Typically, we use the phrase "how are you holding up?" to coax an answer from a person. Many people don't know how to handle a situation when someone they care about is experiencing pain, regret, or sorrow. It's an uncomfortable situation to have to communicate with other people that are having a hard time in life for whatever reason.

As a result, many of us resort to using platitudes to describe our emotions at the time. "How are you holding up?" can refer to emotional situations involving the loss of a person or animal close to us, or it could refer to a problem where a person is dealing with hardship or pressure in their life.

While many people use the phrase in earnest to show the other person they care, it can come off as inauthentic. Asking someone how they are holding up when they are dealing with a crisis is somewhat silly. They are dealing with sorrow, pain, or regret, and asking them how they feel makes them focus on their problems, not solutions.

Sometimes, it's better to use phrases like, "I understand what you're going through; let me know if there is anything I can do to help." This response to a person's demeanor would appear more empathetic to their situation.

"How are you holding up" can also refer to someone that's dealing with a stressful situation, such as trying to meet a deadline at work. You could use the phrase to enquire how they are progressing with the task and if they need help.

How Are You Holding Up? Example Usage

"Hey Micelle, how are you holding up after the funeral?"

"I'm sorry you had to put your dog to sleep. How are you holding up?"

"This project is a nightmare. How are you holding up?"

"All the staff called in sick this week, and you're here alone; how are you holding up?"

"Tom lost his father last week. I've been meaning to call him and ask how he's holding up."

How Are You Holding Up? Origin

There is no official reference on the origin of "how are you holding up?" However, the sentence structure suggests that it has a modern heritage tracing back a few decades.

Phrases Similar to How are You Holding Up?

  • Are you okay?
  • How are you feeling?
  • Are you managing?

Phrases Opposite to How are You Holding Up?

  • Who's cares what you think.
  • I don't give a rat's a** about you.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • How are you holding up?
  • How you holding up?

Ways People May Say How Are You Holding Up? Incorrectly

The phrase "how are you holding up" doesn't refer to the physical act of holding something up. The use of the term only suits situations where you're trying to empathize with someone who's going through a tough time in their life or career.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase How Are You Holding Up?

You can use "how are you holding up" in professional and social settings. You're using the phrase to ask someone if they are coping physically or emotionally. The phrase suits use when you're talking to someone experiencing a loss in their life or to someone under tremendous pressure at home or work.

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