How are you? Do you ever notice how often we ask this or have it asked of us? I have come to hate these three meaningless words. I mean really, how are you supposed to answer that?
The expected answer is “I’m fine”. Which translates that all is right in my world, even if it isn’t.
You can’t answer it honestly, I mean who really wants to hear, “I’ve been better.” or “I’m depressed.”
Now granted, there are a few exceptions to this rule, but I can count them on one hand. After a while you can’t keep telling those people on your one hand that life is not good. Who wants to be around a depressed, in a rut, struggling with life person?
For me, life is a struggle talking to people and I realize a major factor of that are these three words. I don’t want to lie, but at the same time, I can’t tell the truth. No one wants to hear that I’m struggling in my life, not that it’s horribly bad, it’s just when things are off kilter it overwhelms me. I have lost focus and I don’t know how to bring peace and calm and tranquility back into my life.
These three words cause a lot of miscommunication in relationships. I think it is because not only is the question meaningless by the shear fact that it is an opener to a conversation brought about by years of habit, but it puts both people in an awkward position. The answerer lies about what they feel or the questioner feels awkward by a truthful answer they don’t know what to do with.
I’ve never been good at small talk, somehow I find it empty and meaningless. I often confuse people when I first meet them. It’s because I am socially awkward and shy and horrible at small talk. I find it easier to start the conversation in the middle, but unless you’ve know me for a while, you’ll just think I’m weird.
These three dreaded words can be a safe haven when I enter a room where I know absolutely no one. It’s easier when it’s a stranger, I don’t have to be honest with them about how I feel and they don’t expect anything deeper than the pat answer.
My friends say that I am not shy, but I know differently. I tend to grow quiet around new people because I know what is expected of me in the first five minutes of meeting someone new. After the habit opener of those three words comes the deafening sound of what next. It’s not like I can start a conversation in the middle with strangers — there was no conversation in progress.
I have come to dread this question — it’s question is just a matter of fact habit, that once asked has no good answer.
I dare you the next time you meet someone, co-worker, friend, family member, start a conversation without asking that question. Can you do it?