When somebody asks how you are - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 19 Old 01-13-2008, 07:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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... how do you answer?

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."
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#2 of 19 Old 01-13-2008, 07:22 AM
 
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Oh, you've captured my mood exactly!

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.
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#3 of 19 Old 01-13-2008, 12:42 PM
 
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In English, I lie. I say I'm ok. Sometimes I say I'm feeling a little bit better, which isn't always a lie. On a rare occasion I attach a point something like, "I'm ok ... but you know people from around here, we could be shot in the head and if someone asked how we are we'd all say on our dying breaths that we're fine." In Arabic, I say all praise to God -- the linguistically accepted answer basically meaning, "life blows but I don't like to complain all the time." English could stand to develop just such a euphemism.

I do hope that whatever's causing your own messiness gets better with time.
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#4 of 19 Old 01-13-2008, 12:43 PM
 
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I couldn't read and not respond, though I don't have anything helpful to add. You all are in my thoughts.
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#5 of 19 Old 01-14-2008, 01:55 AM
 
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I usually say "I think we're doing as well as we can." That feels honest without being too personal.

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.

RedOak ~ Momma to DS (8) , DS (4) , DD (3) , & DD 9/10 ~
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#6 of 19 Old 01-14-2008, 04:41 PM
 
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My line of late is "I'm surviving"
Some days, I add "or at least trying to"

Canadian mom to Boo (Aug '02), Bug (Aug '04) and Bear (Dec '06).
Jesse (July '09)
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#7 of 19 Old 01-14-2008, 08:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquesce View Post
In Arabic, I say all praise to God -- the linguistically accepted answer basically meaning, "life blows but I don't like to complain all the time." English could stand to develop just such a euphemism.
I love this! I wish the english language did have such a euphemism

Mom to DD born 1989 DS born 1993 and grandma to
DGS born 2005
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#8 of 19 Old 01-14-2008, 11:47 PM
 
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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.

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

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#9 of 19 Old 01-15-2008, 08:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by JenBuckyfan View Post
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.
this is very true and good to remember ... its hard ... I want to be an honest person but is not usually appropriate to tell most people who ask, how I am really doing ... and when in grief its hard to remember its ok to just say something like "I'm surviving" ... this is a good reminder

Mom to DD born 1989 DS born 1993 and grandma to
DGS born 2005
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#10 of 19 Old 01-18-2008, 06:42 PM
 
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After I lost my daughter and I was in the really deep part of grief I pretty much told people how I was doing. I would sometimes say "I am really crappy, I have never felt a sadness or loneliness this intense and it is horrible" sometimes I would say "I am survivng" because that is how I felt. I tend to be an honest person and when I was grieving hard I really didn't care or think about how my response would affect the other person.

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 bfinfant.gif , DH Boris geek.gif , DS 1/29/08 Julian kid.gif DD2 6/7/12 babygirl.gif missing our DD 1/06/06 Sonja angel3.gif and MC @ 9 wks 11/18/06 Satchel  angel.gif

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#11 of 19 Old 01-18-2008, 08:14 PM
 
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I've just been busting out into tears so I think they get the message that things are not well. (dripping on the keyboard now)

 Mom of many minions . . . babyf.gif jumpers.gif     jumpers.gif     jumpers.gif
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#12 of 19 Old 01-18-2008, 10:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zonapellucida View Post
I've just been busting out into tears so I think they get the message that things are not well. (dripping on the keyboard now)
i know, thats the problem - not that i don't appreciate their concern... i just don't like crying at work

Mom to DD born 1989 DS born 1993 and grandma to
DGS born 2005
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#13 of 19 Old 01-18-2008, 11:15 PM
 
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#14 of 19 Old 01-19-2008, 02:04 AM
 
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For me it was always depending on who was asking. For just a casual "how are you today" from aquaintance or non close friend I'd tell what they want to hear. But if someone closer asked, someone I knew I could be with truthful with I'd share my true feelings, knowing they could handle it.

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.
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#15 of 19 Old 01-19-2008, 02:09 AM
 
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to everybody
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#16 of 19 Old 01-19-2008, 02:16 AM
 
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With honesty. Giving more info to those that know me better.

To my husband I am wife, to my kids I am mother, but for myself I am just me.
we're : with and : and
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#17 of 19 Old 01-24-2008, 05:28 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zonapellucida View Post
I've just been busting out into tears so I think they get the message that things are not well. (dripping on the keyboard now)
That's what I do
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#18 of 19 Old 02-02-2008, 01:00 AM
 
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I have started to truly tell people how I feel. If it's someone close I go into details otherwise I just tell them 'I'm not doing good'
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#19 of 19 Old 02-02-2008, 01:18 AM
 
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I'm really sorry you're going through a hard time.

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.

WARNING: The comments and opinions expressed above do not necessarily reflect those of the community in which I reside; or those of the internet parenting network.
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