I'm trying to be more expressive and nuanced in my German. In English, I can answer the question "How's it going? How are you?" in three different levels of energy:


  • "It's not so bad (but I've seen better days...)"
  • "Nothing much really."
  • "I'm feeling so-so."


  • "I'm doing good. (And you?)"
  • "All is well (thanks for asking)."
  • "I'm fine (nothing to worry about)."


  • "I feel great!"

I feel that Neutral/Polite and Enthusiastic answers can be captured in German as,


  • "Mir gehts gut."
  • "Alles gut."
  • "Alles in Ordnung ist."


  • "Ich fühle super!"

The first two of my Indifferent/Lukewarm replies can be literally translated as "Es geht nicht zu schlecht" and "Nicht viel, wirklich" but I'm not sure if it gets across what my English replies convey.

Of course, a lot of this would depend on the speaker's body language and other contextual factors too but, in general, how do I imply a certain malaise/discomfort/detachment when answering "Wie geht's?" ?

  • 5
    It should be Ich fühle mich super and alles in Ordnung or Es ist alles in Ordnung Commented Apr 9, 2020 at 20:13
  • 2
    I'd like to point out that the sentence "Alles in Ordnung ist" is gramatically incorrect. The verb should be at the second position in an assertion: Alles ist in Ordnung Commented Apr 18, 2020 at 13:37
  • I just noticed that your question mentions indifference but the text mentions discomfort. Do you mean you want to convey indifference because you're uncomfortable sharing your true feelings?
    – xmjx
    Commented Apr 20, 2020 at 21:23

7 Answers 7


There are several regional variations of blocking off the question in an expected manner. Such as "Es muß.", "Wie's halt so geht.", "Man kann nicht klagen." or even very-much-not-an-answer like: "Danke der Nachfrage. Und selbst?".



  • "It's not so bad": "Ganz ok, aber ...", "Relativ gut, aber..."
  • "Nothing much really": "Bei mir ist zurzeit nicht viel los."
  • "I'm feeling so-so": "Mir geht's so lala."

I'd like to point out that asserting you're well in a sufficiently unenthusiastic manner works perfectly well too.

  • Ganz ok
  • Es geht
  • Alles halbwegs in Ordnung
  • Halbwegs ok

Generally, "halbwegs" is a good choice here, I think, because it gives the feeling of "more or less, but not really". Although I'd also like to second "Muss/ Es muss", which very much carries the connotation of "Things are rough, but what are you going to do?". Another candidate would be "Mal so, mal so", but is more openly ambivalent.

If you want to more directly express that things are going badly, but remain stoic, "Es war auch schonmal schlimmer" works too.

Source: Am native speaker


A favorite of mine: "Besser nicht fragen!" but that might be already too negative (meaning "trust me, you'd rather not know!").

  • 1
    Also: "Frag lieber nicht!"
    – Olafant
    Commented May 25, 2020 at 11:52

Geht so ist eine der Möglichkeiten.


A very natural and neutral sounding answer would be

Könnte schlimmer sein.

that is

Could be worse.

in english.


This question is interesting, but also tricky at the same time. I don't know what your classification is based on, but a core point to be considered is the notion of politeness and of face-threatening expressions in different cultures https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politeness_theory You cannot compare German with English with regard to this issue since English speakers might occasionally say "I'm ok, thanks" and covertly mean the opposite, while in German "Mir geht es gut" is mostly intended in its literal sense.

  • 3
    You wrote an opinion. By default both "I'm ok" and "Mir geht's gut" mean exactly that in both languages. How they are meant or received may depend on accentuation, facial expression, circumstance whatever ...
    – user41853
    Commented Apr 18, 2020 at 14:00

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