As far as I can tell, both phrases are attempting to discover the same thing: the well-being of the addressee.
The first, on the other hand, appears to imply a more context-specific worry. What I mean is that it suggests that the person is in an odd or unfortunate position. And the speaker is expressing genuine concern about their capacity to manage or remain calm.
In terms of the second phase, there isn’t much to say about it. It’s merely a broad question about phatic communion or social contact.
What does “How are you holding up?” mean?
This phrase essentially asks, “How successful are you managing the multiple imperatives and afflictions in your life right now?”
It’s a polite inquiry in that it displays an understanding that (most likely) you do have some of the above to deal with, an acknowledgment that this coping may be taking a toll on you, as well as some amount of concern and concern for your own situation.
We’re notorious for feeling forced to respond to such inquiries with “Fine.” (even if we’re truly in the throes of a near-fatal meltdown about some present issue or previous tragedy). This is not necessarily a positive thing.
I’m constantly astounded by the power that simply recognizing/acknowledging the difficulty of a situation one finds oneself in (even if they are unable to offer any practical assistance) can have in terms of relieving the profound sense of isolation/despair that often accompanies the experience of such circumstances.
How do I respond to how you’re hanging on?
The response will be determined by how you are doing (i.e., are you coping well with the circumstance or any issues you are facing, or are you struggling, either physically or emotionally?).
Possible responses include:
- Thank you very much.
- Not too well, but thank you for inquiring.
- As good as could be anticipated under the circumstances
- Things are better now than they were before.
- I’m doing fairly well.
- I don’t think I’m dealing well.
- Things are becoming less difficult.
- Things are still really challenging.
- Things/the situation are becoming easier/difficult for me, etc.
- Okay, but I sincerely hope that things improve soon.
You will see that there are many more alternative replies, both good and negative, as well as neutral.
What does “how have you all been holding up” mean?
This expression is typically used when inquiring about someone who has faced adversity.
How you’re holding up refers to how you’re dealing with the terrible experience you’ve been through.
When a person is courageous and resilient, they are holding up in the face of a calamitous scenario.
“How are you doing?” asks for more than “How are you?” It signifies that someone is going through a difficult time, such as hard work, a loss, or a job that puts a lot of strain on them.
“How are you holding up?” might be used in equally remarkable or everyday situations, but it does not indicate that the one asking the question want to acknowledge the intensity of the hardship, whatever it may be.