When you were last asked the question, “How are you?,” what was your response?
For years I responded with the same two words, no matter how I was or how I felt at the time. It became a rote answer, with no thought behind it.
I don’t know why. But, I said it when I was happy, and also when I was miserable. It escaped from my lips when I was frustrated and even when I was elated. When I felt tired or weary those were the two words I voiced.
I was anything but fine.
Why didn’t I just respond with the truth? I wasn’t intentionally being dishonest, but I certainly wasn’t being real and transparent. I could have replied with a number of real responses:
Or, “I’m a bit frustrated.”
But no, I had to say I was fine.
I made a conscious effort to stop saying those two words together. I, instead, chose other words to describe how I really was. It ended up being more difficult than I expected to break the “I’m fine” habit.
I’m reminded of all of this after hearing three people on separate occasions last week say to me those exact two words. Just for fun today I visited dictionary.com and typed in the word fine. No definition came up in describing a person’s status or well-being. So, why is it we use that word to describe how we are?
Maybe fine has found a way into your answers too. Could it be it has become a safe word because we really don’t want to sound too happy or too sad or too whatever? Maybe we want to unintentionally just blend in with everyone else?
Are you as tired of saying you’re fine as I am?
I challenge us to change things up.
The next time someone asks how we are, we can assume they genuinely want to know. So, let’s try answering honestly. The thing is, it’s likely the one asking has heard the response “I’m fine” so often, that might be what he/she just expects to hear. Let’s watch to see the person’s reaction when we respond with anything but that.
No, we don’t have to air any dirty laundry, and we can still be honest without sharing every single detail of what’s going on in our lives.
But let’s be honest, and stop saying we’re fine when we are more than that.
I continue to work at this. I still have a tendency to revert back to my old response. But, being real and transparent is always a good thing.
What do you think? I’d love to read your thoughts on this. And if I’m the only one who struggles with this silly response, then that’s a great thing!
Linking up with Holly and Kelly.
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I love this! I was at lunch last week with a friend and we were talking about this very thing. It seems the world only wants that two word answer when it actually needs a bit more sharing and compassion. Praying I’m ready to encourage someone the next time they answer with more than, “I’m fine.”
I agree, Kim. I’m joining you in that prayer… for us all. So glad you stopped over to bless us with your words. Have a beautiful week!
Gave thst up years ago…. you’ll soon find it easier and easier to give honest answers. And it catches most people off guard. I’ve also not answered those who are clearly in a hurry, and really don’t want to know… but are simply feel expected to “do the polite ” thing
Good for you, Katelyn! Keep up the great responses. Thanks for stopping over and sharing. Have a blessed week!
My go to response is “Good”, even when I’m not. In recent years, I have made progress in this area, but not with everyone who asks, just those I’ve learned are safe and I trust. I can now answer with honesty and expression behind “good” when I really am. And I am able to say “I’m only ok right now”, when I’m not good.
You have given me something to think about, removing good altogether and answering entirely differently. Thanks Julie!
After reading your words here, Kim, I’m convicted. I’ve also easily responded with “good” all too often lately. I need to change it up again. I’m glad to read you have people in your life who are “safe,” and who you can be real and transparent with. If you come up with a new word, let me know! Blessings, dear friend!
Julie, about three years ago I stopped saying “I’m FINE.” And I reached out and asked for prayer. It made all the difference in the world. God showed up and showed off!
I love this, Susan! Your real and transparent words spur me on to continue that mindset. Thank you. So glad showed up and showed off in your life then, and continues to do so. You’re a gift, Susan!
Yeah Julie, that and good have been my pat answers. I struggle with being real and transparent. I’ve had to learn to differentiate between those who really want to know, and those who are going through the motions. Just because someone asks doesn’t mean that they care how you are. So for fear of saying too much or airing dirty laundry, (both of which I’ve been guilty of) I play it safe and try to avoid the judgement zone
I so understand, Angela. It’s a fine line sometimes, isn’t it. But I figure if someone asks, I’ll be as real as I can even though I may not know at the time if he/she is really interested in my answer. It usually doesn’t take long to find out though, does it? This has also taught me to not ask someone how they are unless I’m truly interested in knowing. So many lessons I’m learning! Thanks for being here and for sharing. Bless you!
My best response when truly making an effort to be honest, ” I’m blessed!” Because no matter what is happening in that moment, I know I truly am blessed, and thankful!
God bless you!
What a great response, Ginny! So thankful you stopped by to share this here. That may be my new and honest response! Many blessings!