How Are You?... Really?

Sunday, September 25, 2011 1:01 AM Posted by Molly MacIntyre
The question "how are you?" Really... almost nobody cares about the answer you give them anyway. It's so bad that some people will ask "how are you" and when you're just about to answer they get distracted, start another conversation, or don't even wait for you to answer before talking about something else... wow. It's become a programed response. For people like me, I despise this question because I am stuck with the dilemma of how I'm going to answer. Being a person that values honesty, I want to answer it honestly, but when things aren't "awesome" not everyone wants to hear "well... actually I'm rather stressed, and I forgot to eat lunch, so now I have a headache." Now what do I do?... lie? "I'm great... YOU?" Nope, can't do it. So lately I've been sticking to phrases like "I'm OK" or "could be worse -smile-" Just honest enough, but not too honest (we've all experienced that when it was not expected...awkward). I have even heard of people answering on a Likert scale. "On a scale of 1-10 I'm about an 8." Now to be fair there are those, like myself, who only ask this question when we are prepared for an honest answer (i.e. not the 1st week I know you). I have even had times where I will given a programed answer like "fine" and they will again say "how are you" I find this refreshing because so many of us are used to small talk and "Midwest manners"- I can't wear makeup that thick, makes me feel like a birthday clown at a wedding- painfully out of place.
Now lets discuss the answer "busy... but good." I hear this one all the time so lets dissect this out a bit. We say we're "busy" but we're "good." What does that even mean? When was the last time you were really busy, and felt "good" about being that busy? Maybe it's code for "I'm really stressed with ___ and have a lot of ___ to do,  but there isn't much I can do about it because I can't quit my job/school, fire my boss, get rid of my wife/husband, or ignore my kids, so I'm just going to say I'm good and call it a day." (disclaimer- this sounds really sad and pessimistic of me but honestly that is what I hear every day from people I do consults with). Now obviously there isn't a cookie cutter answer for everyone here as to why we say this, but I think that if there was, it would lie in the western world paradigm that makes us see ourselves in terms of how much stuff we do in a day. Instead of how many people's lives we have touched, how many things we have experienced, or who we are with.
Maybe the real issue is that we are actually somewhere else when we should be present with people. We ask how someone is doing and we aren't focused on them, we fill our time with temporary things instead of those that are eternal. What do you value? And does your daily life reflect those values?

0 Response to "How Are You?... Really?"

Post a Comment