The question, “How are you doing?” can feel like a loaded question that others ask me. It can also feel like a routine question instead of a sincere question. Oftentimes, I feel uncomfortable getting asked this question by others because I don’t know how to interpret it. Most of the time, I am compelled to answer, “Oh, I’m good or I’m fine”. The reason I am so quick to answer in this mannar is because I am confused if this is just another person’s way to greet me, or if they really do want to know how I am doing.
In most cases, I can tell if it was used as a greeting or if someone was really wanting to know more information. Sadly though, I can’t recall the last time someone genuinely asked me or took the time to find out how I was actually doing and took the time to challenge me to go beyond the closed ended response I give. After responding, I am also typically prone to close the book on that question in regards to how I am doing and I return the same question to the person I am talking with. I admit that I almost expect a similar response from them in return most of the time. The conversation ends as quickly as it started and you are left feeling empty, almost like you never even talked to someone at all.
This conversation starter question or greeting can be a dead end question. It often leads to a dead end exchange between two people. This is sad, but I’m sure many of you can also relate to what I am talking about. I am asked how I am doing almost on a daily basis. Yet, I honestly can say that I can’t remember the last time someone geuninely asked me how I was doing and when I responded that I was good or fine, they then took the added steps to find out what that means or ask follow up questions to ensure I am ok. I am also responsible for not going that extra mile at times too. It can feel out of place and awkward. I wonder though, when we as friends, family and neighbors just got so busy to reach out and go that extra mile in conversation though?
In conversation, follow up questions are so important & in today’s world I find it so important in conversation with others to find out how someone is really doing. If you want to greet someone, say Hello or Good-morning don’t confuse them by asking how they are doing without actually wanting to know more. Ask questions with intent in really letting someone know you care how they are doing. I often think about the many times I have told others that I was good or that I was fine when I really wasnt and in those moments, I was hoping they would reach out further to me. It saddens me to know how many people I have came across in my lifetime where I haven’t reached out to them in their time of need as well simply because I didn’t reach out and extend myself further. You just never know how really taking the time to find out how someone is doing could change their entire day or their life.
If someone responds in a way that makes your conversation dead quickly and you really do want to know how they are doing, here are some other pointers to help them open up to truly make sure they are fine:
-Put away all distractions and give them your undivided attentions (yes, put that damn cell phone away and actually make eye contact with this person).
-Actually listen and pay attention to their body language.
-Ask encouraging questions that let them know you are interested in their lives.
-Make it clear that you have time to talk to them and that you are here if they need to talk and that you care about them.
-Continue asking questions that prompt them to open up and let them know you care.
-Follow up with them in a day or two to let them know you are thinking about them and just checking in.
Today, I challenge you to ask someone how they are doing, but ask them with intent. Stop and look them in the eye. Do it with sincerity. Do it with care. Do it with love. Do it in support. Do it with meaning. This time of year especially is hard on people. Reach out & go that extra mile. Be present. Be there. Be a friend. Don’t stop there, follow up with them and continue to let them know you care and are there for them. Sometimes words are not enough either, random acts of kindness also go a long ways!
So, today I am asking you Mombies out there how are you doing? I will not take I’m fine or I’m good for an answer. Truly, how are you doing? I care and I know all to well the stresses and struggles go hand in hand with the love and joys you feel towards your children and partners in life but if we are honest with each other we know that we are not always fine and good. Life can feel like you are up and down and all around. I’d love to hear your honest responses in my comments, I’m here to listen and actively respond to anything you’d like to get off your chest.