Monday Notes: How Are You?

When someone asks you how you’re doing, what do you say? Do you give the traditional “I’m fine”? If so, why is that?

A friend once posted to social media that no one really wants to know how you’re doing when they ask. So, just say, “I’m good” and keep it moving.

img_7513I agree. But I’m done interacting in that way. Here’s why. I’ve spent a large part of my life pretending that everything was okay when it wasn’t. I’ve also learned the hard way that repressing emotions and going about life in a “business as usual” fashion is no healthier than eating junk food everyday. Ill feelings stay with you until you release them.

Now, if you ask me how I’m doing or how something is going, you will get the truth.

If I really am good, then I’ll let you know. But if I’m not? I still let you know.

For example, When people ask, how are the girls, which is a common question, I pause because they’re no longer one unit called, “the girls.” Quite honestly, they never were. But being in their late teenage years makes it more evident.

So, I pause. I provide detail. Kesi is doing this, that, and a third. Desi is doing X, Y, and Z. Sometimes it’s unicorns and rainbows. Other times, I wish either of them were making different choices and headed down a path of clarity.

Either way, if you ask, then you’ll get a real answer.

I’ve learned to answer people truthfully about every aspect of my life because there are enough of us covering up sadness and anger with fake smiles and high-pitched laughs. I don’t want to be another one.

For me, reality is what’s up.

But what I’ve found is that people can’t quite take the real answer. Uncomfortable squirms and bug eyes show me that they, like my friend, would rather hear the traditional “fine.”

Quickly changing the subject when I explain how either of my daughters is really doing signals they’d like to discuss something more chipper, like the weather. But only if the sun has shone brightly for several days in a row. If not, then a conversation about when it might return is in order, because like real discussions about our lives, people also don’t like crappy weather.

So, tell me. How are you…really? And how do you typically answer this question?

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61 thoughts on “Monday Notes: How Are You?

  1. It all depends on who’s asking.
    If it a stranger then I will tell them I’m fine. If it’s someone who I know like to gossip then I will tell them I’m fine too.
    But if it’s someone who I know have my best interests at heart and I know what I say stays right there, then I will get but naked honest with them if I’m going through something.
    Thanks for the insight.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I always say, I’m Fine or around Christians and church folk, I’m Blessed. My parents had a saying, “Don’t put your business out in the street.” Never tell people your problems or how you truly feel except if it’s your doctors, lawyers or your Minister. As for everyone else it is None of Their Business and besides that How is revealing your true feelings and emotions going to help you? It’s not. You’re depressed. They are depressed. Soon you begin to lose friends because nobody wants to hear the truth aka “bad news.” As I’ve gotten older I now have a myriad assortment of health problems, illness and disabilities but I refuse to discuss my troubles. I keep everything to myself. Sometimes I’m forced to share my vision disability because that person has asked me to do something that I can no longer do and I’m put on the spot to share the truth but if I can avoid telling people about my eyesight I do. Once people learn that you have a disability and or a serious illness (I have both) you are persona non grata. Their opinion of you changes. You will be rejected and abandoned. It has happened to me. Best to keep those type things hidden from people. Share only with God.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha!Thanks for your comment DeBorah! I have to disagree a bit because, for me, if I hold it in, then I actually feel worse. I also think we’ve created quite a world if we don’t want to hear how people are really doing, even if we’re not close to them. I guess, too, they don’t always have to be “troubles” that you’re discussing. I mean if you’re having a GREAT day, don’t you want to share that too?

      I also hate that what you say and experienced about being disabled is true. That’s the quickest way to become invisible in some people’s eyes.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes. I agree that if I’m having a Great Day and wonderful things are happening I’m eager to share Good News. As for certain personal aspects that are troubles or difficulties I have shared with sympathetic Sisters in the Church. (I recently decided to join Wayside Baptist Church.) And of course close friends. Those two groups understand about my eyesight. The Pastor has been encouraging and I can still contribute to the discussion during Bible Study. So now I don’t feel left out. Also I’ve been making headway in positive directions with my artwork and nobody cares that I have vision limitations. I’m going to be in Three Art Shows this month. Two in Brooklyn close to my house and one in Manhattan through my Japanese Buddhist girlfriend and her Buddhist Temple. Both the Church and the Temple are accepting of people with disabilities.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. On the other hand not everyone will Celebrate your Victories with you. Lots of jealousy out there especially among women. I have seen way too many cat fights in the Ladies Locker to believe in Women’s solidarity. If not fights then gossip. So glad that I’m no longer in the workforce. Women will cut each other and step on each other just for a promotion. Ugh!

        That’s why I don’t broadcast my business of Facebook or other Social Media. People are ready to cut you down at a moment’s notice. That’s why it’s often best to keep things good or bad to yourself unless you really truly trust that person beyond a shadow of a doubt.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. It depends on who asks me. I don’t feel like discussing most times. I usually change the subject to, “well it’s Wednesday” or something to that effect if I am not fine without ever answering the “how are you?” question. Sometimes my response it “making it” or “surviving” when I’m not fine. So much depends on the day, my mood, and who’s asking. “Meh!” is one of my favorites for bad moods and “amazing” is one for my great days!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. For me, it depends on who asks the question. If it’s someone I don’t really feel the urge to strike up conversation with, I tell them I am okay and make my way out of the whole scene ASAP! If it’s someone closer to me, I’ll tell them how I feel. But I have to feel at ease enough with them to know they will actually listen, not give me any unwanted advise, and, most of all, will take me seriously.

    To answer your question: I am a little upset. I nearly hit a cyclist on my way home because she threw herself in front of my car (she wanted to cross the road and probably miscalculated my speed). I can’t stop thinking about what could have happened, yet I also feel relieved and grateful I didn’t hit her and nobody got hurt.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Samantha, first of all, my apologies for taking so long to answer. Your requirements for revealing a real answer sound a lot like what I require in general conversation lol

      That almost hitting a cyclist incident sounds AWFUL! We have all kinds of PSAs to watch out for motorcyclists and cyclists, and I always wonder why they don’t share equal consideration for riding on the road. Anywho, thank goodness nothing happened.

      Like

  5. Usually I answer OK and leave it at that. Or i f you really want to know read my blog. Yes I know that still avoids an answer. So here goes. I went home for a couple of weeks, I had been 9 years gone.so it should have been a good visit, but it wasn’t, I felt depressed, I wanted to leave as soon as I got there. When I got home to Florida, it took a couple of days recuperate my spirit.

    So I’m better and have to write about. As Bilbo said, when you come home from an adventure, it is you that has changed…jc

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Eugh, this is so true! When you said “I’ve spent a large part of my life pretending that everything was okay when it wasn’t” I was nodding along. Sadly, I think this happens all too regularly, and when people ask how you are it often feels as though it’s a routine thing rather than with any care behind it. I think answering fully and honestly is a great idea, and a brave one too because you never know how people will react (it’s that rare a thing I think to actually be honest about how we are!)

    I’m feeling quite drained, still in pain after a rubbish weekend, but looking forward to having a hospital appointment out of the way in the morning so I can take some time in the afternoon in bed (which I still feel guilty about even though I know it should be fine to rest when your body needs it).
    How are you today?
    Caz xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! I just read a blog that shows exactly what you’re saying. People don’t want to know at all. They’re just using a superficial greeting. It has worked out just fine for me. The way I see it, it’s their problem if they don’t wanna hear how I’m really doing lol They should learn to be more precise with their greetings.

      I’m sorry to hear that you’re feeling drained. I know you have up and down days. And by the way, it is perfectly fine to rest 🙂

      Today and this week, I’ve been a bit stressed because I over-scheduled my life, but it’ll be different next wek.

      Here’s the other person’s blog too, if you want to read it: https://pragalbhadoshi.wordpress.com/2016/09/16/how-are-you/comment-page-1/#comment-12130

      Like

  7. When my family or friends ask, I’m usually honest with them. But if things aren’t going well I sometimes worry about ‘oversharing’ or feel guilty if I burden them with too many of my worries!

    If it’s an acquaintance or someone I don’t know well, I’d probably just say “I’m okay” or “not too bad”.

    I’ve been feeling really stressed recently (mostly around a decision whether or not to move house. Today I made my decision and decided to postpone my move for a while). I’m terrible at decision-making and uncertainty is even worse. But I’m hoping that I start feeling more positive soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Woman! I am so with you on this. Maybe it’s an age thing too, I don’t know, but I am so done with trivial, shallow stuff and thus also relationships. I also feel, if we keep ‘pretending’ or fake it till we make it, ‘things’ get worse. So Yes to honesty, to reality, to truth!
    After a emergency appendix removal last Wednesday, I am fine again. But frustrated I have to build up my energy-level again. My head wants to go faster than my body is capable of right now. Grrrrr

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Honestly, it depends on who I’m talking to, but I am still fairly honest with strangers or acquaintances than I would have been before. I won’t say “fine” if I’m not. I may say “fair to middling” or even “I’m here.”

    I have found that being more honest with my actual friends has strengthened our relationships. It has taken some practice to get out of the “I’m fine/good” mode with them, but now that I have, I much prefer it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I thought I’d responded to this Akilah, but I guess not. Anywho, thanks for your comment! I like all of those answers because at least they’re honest, you know? I agree about friendships, especially. I mean what’s the point of being friends if you can’t tell the person how you really feel?

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I agree with you 100% about not pretending or suppressing feelings. I’ve noticed that when I share honestly about myself, the response is so affirming and uplifting. I’ve called it “opening my heart.” It sounds like that’s where you’re at Katherin. It’s so much better than faking it, like I did for most of my life. I know you know what I mean and I appreciate your writing a post where we are on the same wavelength!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Good question. I’d have to admit, when I am with family, close friends and even at work, I will respond truthfully…exactly how I’m feeling at that moment. However, if I meet up with someone at the store or walking in my neighborhood, and I’m feeling good…I’ll say just that. If not, I’ll say “i’m ok”. Cuz I am. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  12. “But what I’ve found is that people can’t quite take the real answer.”
    ~ That has also been my experience when I’ve tried to be more explicit.

    “How are you?” is simply a friendly greeting. It’s not intended to initiate a conversation. To engage in conversation with my neighbors, I just smile and tell them: “It’s good to see you.” Then take it from there.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. I noticed men in general (maybe women too, but I haven’t heard any of them say this) ask the question and then provide the answer right away themselves. “How are you, good?” So now I have to either say ‘yes’ or ‘actually, no, I’m not good, and this is why’ which has them running in fear into the opposite direction.

    But I get it, what you’re saying. I guess we have to judge whether an actual answer is anticipated, or if they’re just making polite conversation.

    Since you asked, however, I will tell you the truth: Yesterday sucked. The day before sucked more. And today is only marginally better. But don’t worry, I’ll get over it. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  14. Your second to last paragraph has cracking up.

    I honestly always just answer that I’m fine, well it depends on who is asking. If it’s a good friend I might answer truthfully depending on how much time I have. 😏

    To answer you – I am excited about a short work week, took some time off for my birthday. Also, excited about my upcoming birthday. It’s in a few days. 🎁🎂🎈. I’m like a kid with birthdays.

    I’m glad you asked because it gives me the opportunity to let you know that I enjoy your writing and hope that you enjoy mine too. I’m bummed that you’re not yet following my page. 😕

    Hope you had a wonderful Aniversay weekend! Have a beautiful week. 💕

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Girl. You’re laughing cause you know it’s the truth lol

      HAPPY ALMOST BIRTHDAY! (think I said this already on your blog)

      Thanks Rakkelle! I thought I was already following? I know I’ve read some posts already. I’ll have to re-check.

      I hope you have a WONDERFUL bday and short week!

      Liked by 2 people

  15. I think “How are you?” is used like “Hello” in our society, or a “polite” segue into what the person really wanted to ask. If we all always responded to this question honestly, casual askers would become more savvy and not ask unless they really cared and had time to listen. I learned my lesson as a nurse making phone calls all day to elderly patients (about their test results, etc). If you ask them how they are, they will tell you. At length. About insomnia and constipation and how many damn pills they have to take and kids who never visit… I try not to burden people with my problems, but I don’t just say “fine” if I’m not. “I’ve been better” or “Hanging in there” is an honest response that tests the waters, so to speak. It allows the asker to move deeper into the conversation or say “Sorry to hear that” and walk away, whichever they were inclined to do. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. LMAO! You are absolutely right. I was raised around both sets of grandparents and both sets of great-grandparents. So, this is accurate.

      I like those mid-answers, not too much info, but not a “lie” either, and you’re right…if they wanna engage, then they can.

      Liked by 2 people

  16. I’m really careful who I ask and what I ask. For example, if I ask my aunt ‘how are you?’, she’ll go on for over 20 minutes on how miserable she is. So, when I see her, I don’t ask, just say ‘it’s so nice to see you again, aunty’.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. LOL I don’t know why this is funny to me, but yes, this is a perfect example of how I wished people would just say whatever they really mean. You don’t wanna know, so you don’t ask lol

      Like

  17. This is so tricky sometimes, isn’t it? When we ask, do we really want to know? Yes, for people I care about or people I have time to spend time responding. Also, yes to the person checking me out in a store. Even if it’s an I’m okay, or I’m tired today, or…But, when people ask me, I will typically say, I’m fine if I’m fine, or I’m doing okay, hanging in there if I’m not quite as fine. I have got the midwestern nice, I don’t want to bother you, thing down pat. Now, if I’m with a good friend, I may say I’m okay or fine, but then I will follow up with how I really feel. I wonder how it is in other cultures?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Alexis, as a former Midwesterner, I get it. They definitely don’t wanna rock any boats and are really just asking out of politeness. I think that’s a great question! I wonder if they have cultural/societal phrases that just mean, “hello”?

      Liked by 2 people

  18. Kathy, I smile as I read this. It is the same here, same question,same expected
    answer. I give a variety of answers and for speed at times, just o.k.
    On the phone the other day a realtor asked in his brisk voice…and How are you?
    Not to good, I said, to which the standard ready answer came: ‘ Good, good, good…’ three times.
    I started laughing and told him why.
    I guess the poor guy was programmed.

    Life is funny.

    miriam

    Liked by 4 people

  19. When salespeople call me up and ask me how I’m doing, I ask,how may I help you. The selected few, I answer honestly. Some I know don’t care and are looking for a chink in my armour (because that is what I have armour), to them u say, brilliant, so blessed. Let them choke on their agendas and evil minds.💞

    Liked by 3 people

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