How to Respond to an Ex Asking How You Are: 9 Ways

How to respond to an ex asking how you are? Undoubtedly, it’s a difficult moment. Should you be cold and distant? Friendly and upbeat? On the one hand, you may want to be polite and cordial. But on the other hand, you may not want anything to do with them anymore.

There are many ways to approach this situation, but which is the right one for you? Here I will discuss 9 practical ways to respond to an ex who asks how you are doing. Hopefully, one of these responses will fit your situation and help you maintain a civil relationship with your ex!

how to respond to an ex asking how you are

What Does It Mean When an Ex Asks How You Are?

Before answering the main topic, I want to analyze what it means when an ex asks how you are. Depending on your past relationship’s context and dynamics, it can have different meanings. It may sometimes stem from genuine concern for your well-being, especially if you maintained a friendship or shared a close bond. In such cases, they might be genuinely interested in your happiness and how you’re navigating life post-breakup.

Another reason for asking how you are could be a form of checking in on your life after the breakup. Your ex might be curious about how you handle the aftermath or if you’ve moved on romantically. This curiosity can be driven by a mix of emotions, including nostalgia or even jealousy.

If the breakup was messy or uncertain, your ex might use this question to test the waters for potential reconciliation. Starting with a neutral inquiry about your well-being, they can gauge your response and willingness to engage in further conversation.

Another possible motivation behind this question could be guilt or regret. If the breakup was challenging or left unresolved issues, they might seek to express remorse or closure. It can be an attempt to make amends and acknowledge any pain they may have caused.

So, an ex’s “How are you?” question can carry various meanings and emotions. Understanding the context and your own feelings will help you respond in a way that aligns with your boundaries and intentions. There is no direct answer to the question “Why is my ex asking how I’m doing”? It varies from person to person.

How to Respond to an Ex Asking How You Are: 9 Simple Ways

My school friend Oliver recently met me to share his confusing moment. According to him:

“I met with Silvia around seven years ago. We had a good time together, but things didn’t work out. We both moved on and never talked again, at least until now. She saw me in the mall yesterday and stopped to ask me how I was doing, and it was hard to ignore her. So I just said, ‘I’m doing fine!’ But, after that sudden meeting, she repeatedly asks the same questions via email and text.  I am feeling stuck and don’t know how to respond. Can you please advise me?”

Here are 15 simple, easy ways to respond to an ex who asks how you are:

1. Be straightforward and honest:

Responding with a brief “I’m fine, thanks” can help set the tone for a neutral encounter. It’s respectful yet also establishes the limits of your conversation – letting your ex know that you won’t discuss anything in-depth or personal. Alternatively, you can say “I’m doing great; thanks for asking!” Giving a reply with a thanks show you are still polite towards your ex.

Being straightforward and honest can be challenging in this context. The question “How are you?” from an ex can stir up a whirlwind of emotions, making it difficult to communicate without becoming too vulnerable or revealing too much. If you still miss her, don’t hesitate to express that. She might not care about your missing her. But it would help if you were honest with yourself.

The complex history and feelings involved can blur the lines of communication, often leading to misinterpretations or further confusion. Additionally, there’s a fine line between being honest and oversharing. You might feel the urge to use this opportunity to express unresolved feelings or unsaid words from the past, but it’s crucial to remember the purpose of your response.

You are not looking to rehash the past or rekindle a relationship but to keep the conversation neutral and respectful. Hence, finding the balance between being straightforward and honest, while still protecting your emotional well-being, is what makes this a tricky maneuver.

2. Suggest a different activity:

Sometimes, skipping the “How are you?” question and suggesting an alternative activity is better. For instance, if your ex asks how you are via text message or online chat, replying with something like “Do you want to go for a walk?” can be an appropriate response. This way, it’s easier to keep the conversation casual and noncommittal.

Going for a walk or participating in other activities can distract from any awkwardness or lingering tension caused by memories. This strategy also allows you to check in with yourself and decide if it’s worth further communication before meeting up.

If you’re not interested in taking your communication to the next level, you can politely decline without giving away too much information. For instance, “No thanks, I’m busy right now” is a straightforward and respectful response that lets your ex know you’re unavailable.

3. Use humor:

“How to answer the question how are you?”

That is the best way to use humor. Making light of the situation can be one way to keep the conversation focused on the present instead of dredging up the past. If your ex asks how you are, adding a lighthearted comment can help break down any potential walls between you two. For instance, “I’m doing great! How about you?” can be followed by something like “Besides working with teenage dragons all day” if you two have a shared sense of humor.

my ex texted me how are you doing
Use humor when replying to how are you questions of ex.

Humor can be an effective way to alleviate awkwardness and keep the conversation light, but it’s essential to ensure that your jokes won’t hurt your ex’s feelings or come off as too aggressive. If you’re uncomfortable with making jokes, taking a more straightforward approach is okay.

4. Ask how they are in return:

If your ex asks how you are, you can ask how they are in return. This is a polite way to show that you are interested in their life and still care about them. It is also an excellent way to gauge their level of interest in you; if they seem disinterested in your life, it may be a sign that they have moved on and are happy with your new partner, even if it is a rebound relationship.

If your ex is willing to talk about themselves, they may open up and give more details than they initially requested. However, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to reciprocate and give away any information about yourself if you’re not ready.

5. Keep it short and sweet with positive:

“How do you politely respond to an ex?”

When responding to your ex’s question, it is best to keep your answer short and sweet. There is no need to go into great detail about your life, as this will only give your ex more information than they need. Additionally, long-winded answers can be seen as needy or desperate, which is not the image you want to portray.

Be positive when responding to your ex’s questions; this will show them you are doing well without them. Focusing on the negative aspects of your life will only make your ex feel guilty or regretful for leaving you. Instead, focus on the positive things in your life, such as your friends, hobbies, or accomplishments.

6. Avoid talking about the past:

Avoid discussing the past when responding to your ex’s question, as this will only reopen old wounds and cause unnecessary pain. Instead, focus on the present and the future, and let your ex know what you have been up to lately and your plans for the future.

Avoid talking about the breakup when your ex asks how you are doing. This will only remind them of the pain and hurt they felt during the breakup, making them less likely to want to reconcile with you. If you want to get back together with your ex, it is best to avoid discussing the breakup. This will show them that you have moved on from the past and are focused on building a new life without them.

7. Set boundaries:

It’s important to remember that you don’t owe your ex anything when they ask how you are doing. If the conversation takes a turn for the worse, politely let them know you’re uncomfortable talking about specific topics and need to end the conversation.

Setting boundaries can help keep both parties comfortable during a potentially awkward exchange. It also serves as a reminder that you are not obligated to talk about topics that make you uncomfortable.

8. Don’t get into a fight and be rude:

If your ex asks how you are, resist the urge to get into a fight with them. This will only worsen the situation and show them you are still not over the breakup. If you are angry or upset, it is best to take a deep breath and calm down before responding to your ex.

Even if you are angry or hurt, avoid being rude when your ex asks how you are. This will only make them defensive and damage any chances of reconciling with them. It is best to ignore their question if you can’t respond politely.

9. Leave room for further conversation if you want:

If you’re open to talking more, leave room for them to continue the conversation. You can say, “I’m good, thanks for asking. How about we catch up sometime soon?”

But, it depends on what you are comfortable with. If the conversation feels like it has gone as far as it can go, don’t be afraid to end it. Your ex will appreciate that you kept things amicable and positive. How do you respond to an ex asking how you are? I hope the below discussion will guide you properly:

FAQs on How Do You Respond When Ex Asks How Are You

What does it mean when an ex asks how you are?

Why does my ex want to know how I’m doing?

When an ex asks how you are, there could be a few different explanations. They might genuinely be interested in your well-being and want to catch up. Or, they might feel nostalgic and think about the good times you had together.

It’s also possible that they are trying to gauge whether you are single or not and whether there might be a chance for getting back together. If you’re not interested in getting back together, it’s best to be honest, and let them know you’re doing fine.

If they continue to pursue you, it’s best to politely but firmly let them know that you’re not interested. Exes can be tricky, but it’s essential to set boundaries so that you can both move on.

Why does my ex want to know how I’m doing?

“My ex texted me how are you doing? Why?”

There are a few reasons your ex might want to know how you’re doing or do you miss her. Maybe they’re feeling nostalgia and wondering how you’re doing in light of the pandemic. Maybe they want to see if you’ve moved on and are happy without them. Or maybe they’re just curious about what you’re up to nowadays.

Whatever the reason, remember that you don’t owe your ex an update on your life. If you don’t want to talk to them, you don’t have to. You can simply say you’re doing well and leave it at that.

There’s no need to go into detail about your personal life or share information they don’t need to know. Just be polite and brief, and then move on with your day.

Should you respond to a text from an ex?

“How to respond to an ex asking how you are text?”

Yes, you should respond. When you get a text from an ex, it can be tempting to respond immediately. However, you should consider a few things before hitting “send.”

First, why did you break up in the first place? If there were trust issues or communication problems, it is probably best to avoid getting back in touch. Second, how long has it been since the breakup? If it was recent, you might still feel raw and vulnerable. Give yourself time to heal before getting in contact with your ex.

Finally, what are your motivations for responding? If you are hoping to get back together, then you should think carefully about whether or not that is really what you want. If you decide to respond to a text from your ex, do so with caution and be prepared for any possible outcome.

How do you respond to an ex that still loves you?

One of the hardest things to deal with in life is an ex that still loves you. It can be incredibly confusing and upsetting, especially if you have moved on. Remember that you have a right to your feelings and experiences, and you should not feel guilty for not reciprocating your ex’s feelings.

If you are dealing with an ex that still loves you, the best thing to do is, to be honest with them. Explain that you have moved on and that you are happy with your new life. If they can’t accept that, it may be best to end the conversation.

However, if they are willing to listen and respect your decision, you may be able to stay friends. Remember, though, that it is okay to put your well-being first, and you should not feel obligated to stay in a relationship with someone who does not respect your decisions.

How do you respond when an ex reaches out after no contact?

It depends on your current relationship status, your relationship with this person, and the reason for the no-contact rule in the first place. If you are still friends with this person, responding may be okay.

However, if you are not on good terms or if the no-contact rule was instituted for a specific reason (e.g., to heal from a toxic relationship), it may be best to ignore the message or politely decline.

Sometimes, blocking the person from your social media accounts or changing your phone number may be necessary. How to respond after a long gap in communication should be based on what is best for you and your mental health.

How to respond to an ex who hurt you?

Dealing with an ex can be difficult, especially if they hurt you during the relationship. You might feel angry, hurt, and frustrated, and it can be tough to know how to respond. However, there are a few things you can do to help you deal with the situation.

First, talk to somebody about what happened. Whether it’s a friend, family member, or therapist, talking to somebody can help you process your feelings and start to move on.

Also, give yourself time to heal. This means taking care of yourself emotionally and physically. Spend time with friends and loved ones, do things that make you happy, and be patient with yourself.

Finally, don’t hesitate to contact your ex if you need closure. While it might be difficult, it can help you move on from the hurt they caused.


So, when your ex asks how you are, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. Avoid talking about the past or the breakup, as this will only remind them of the pain and hurt they felt during the breakup. Also, don’t beg or plead with your ex, as this will only make you look desperate and needy.

In addition, don’t play games with your ex, as this will only worsen the situation. And finally, don’t bring up the future, as this will only make your ex uncomfortable. Following these tips, you can respond to your ex calmly, collectedly, and respectfully.

About Shakir Ahmed

Head of the editorial team. I hold a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) from UoL. Written hundreds of articles on divorce, child custody, employment and other human rights law topics for blogs and websites worldwide. Worked 6 years as a relationship development trainer. For any communication regarding any legal matter, please feel free to email me at

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