When you know they want to hear something like "I'm alright" or "I'm doing as well as can be expected"
and the real answer is closer to "I'm a nonfunctioning mess, haven't eaten or slept or really quit crying in four days, and I wish I were dead."
I try to avoid the question as often as possible, by coming up with some diversion so as to avoid lying. When I can't get away with that, I decide who's asking and also how much time I have to recover froma true answer. If it's a general acquaintance, I just answer that I'm fine or getting by. If it's someone who's not listening, I say, "I'm here." I guess I only answer truthfully when it's a close friend or someone who's really sincere and wants to know.
Gosh, reading that, I come off as really insincere myself and questioning of motives. I guess I just try to read who's making conversation and who's offering an ear. Also, I don't want to be the center of attention in every situation, so sometimes it's just easier to pretend to be okay.
I do hope that whatever's causing your own messiness gets better with time.
Of course, with anyone I know very well at all, I just tell them the truth. It's liberating to be honest.
My problem tends to be that, on bad days, I don't have the energy to reach out. So when I do tend to call or visit friends, it's in my cheerier, more capable of "handling it" moods.
DGS born 2005
Thrilled to be expecting Baby #2 after 15 months TTC (a 30% drop in TTC time than Baby #1!)
"Everything that is done in the world is done by hope." Martin Luther
I'll post as someone who has been guilty of asking this. I have asked people this in the past, not to put anyone on the spot and definitely not expecting or hoping for them to say any specific answer. I have also said "I just want you to know that I'm thinking of you and how you are doing and if you need anything let me know". Sometimes "how are you doing" is just a way for people to reach out to you and it may be hard to come up with something else to say that they feel is appropriate. Please don't think they are always looking for an answer (I know, dumb, then why ask the question...). If I was the person who asked the question and you were completely honest with me, I might be surprised depending on how well I knew you, but regardless, I would admire the honesty and it would be a breath of fresh air in some sense. Whatever you feel like saying at the time is ok. If you say "I'm surviving" or "ok" if you don't want to talk at the time or don't know someone well enough, that's ok. If you say "you know, I appreciate you asking but I'm tired of discussing how I feel today" or "thanks for asking, I'm going day by day", enough said. I think they just want you to know they care and they are there for you if you need someone or something.
DGS born 2005
Just like now that I am pregnant when people ask me if this is my first. I tell them no. If they keep questioning me about how old my other children are then I saw "My first born daughter should be two" if the question the word should then I tell them Sonja's story. I don't talk to much about my miscarriage however I will if the mood strikes me.
Personally I think you need to say what is right for you and let the other person deal with there own emotions about what you day.
Much love and peace to you.
Scarlett , DH Boris , DS 1/29/08 Julian DD2 6/7/12 missing our DD 1/06/06 Sonja and MC @ 9 wks 11/18/06 Satchel
"And when our baby stirs and struggles to be born it compels humility: what we began is now its own." Margaret Mead
DGS born 2005
I do remember a few times though of really shocking a person and blurting out how I was really feeling.....most people just stand there are say "I'm sorry".
I remember saying "life could be better right now"....and just left it at that.
When I ask someone who I know is grieving how they're doing; I'm not expecting a 'polite' response; and frankly, I can tell if they're lying. I'm asking because I care and I know it helps to talk about it.
So, if I asked you how you are; I would expect to hear that you're a mess, that you haven't eaten, that you can't sleep and that you're crying with no end in sight. I would listen day in and day out while you talked about that (even if you're rambling) until you've talked so much you feel better. That's what friends are for.
But if someone who's not so close to you asks how you are; you can say "I'm not doing so great, but I don't want to talk about it right now. I really could use some regular chit-chat to take my mind off things....insert question about their life here"
I really hope that you find peace in your situation; and honestly, if you want someone to just listen; you can PM me anytime, ok - I mean that.