People are usually started when I answer their question that way. It cracks me up actually. I usually stand there for a second to enjoy the look on their face-which usually ranges from bemused to, well, uncomfortable (silence).
That question is the new, “What’s up?” Which, of course, replaced: “How are you doing?”
None of the questions are intended to illicit the truth. The proper, typical responses are:
Them: Everything good? You: Yup!
Them: What’s up?! You: What’s up?!
Them: How are you? You: Great!
In most casual instances, the questioner doesn’t really care how you are, but they’ve got to say something. When someone knows me only casually offers one of the typical greeting questions, I dutifully respond properly.
But if it’s someone I know well, if it’s a friend, they’re gonna get the truth.
True friends care. We’ve become trained to greet everyone–even our friends– like we greet everyone else: without any real desire to know, truthfully, how they’re doing.
But a true friend really should want to know the truth, should care how you are doing.
And rarely is everything good. It’s called Life. If you’re lucky, it’s a pretty good day. If you’re really lucky it’s a great day. But rarely is everything good.
And that’s okay. When we delude ourselves to think everything’s okay, we ignoring those issues (some painful, most just annoying, thankfully) in our lives that probably need to be addressed. And that’s not good.
Next time you greet someone you care about, look them in the eye, hold their hand for a bit longer than normal and say, “How are you? I mean, truly.”
They’ll probably offer that same bemused/uncomfortable look I get when I say, “Nope.” But something inside them might click, might flip out of accepted-response mode and offer at least a hint of the truth about how they are actually doing.
And they may be doing just fine. Or maybe not. Either way, they’ll walk away with a different feeling. They’ll walk away knowing you care.
By the way, I don’t leave people hanging. When someone asks: “Everything okay.”
I indeed say, “Nope.”
But after a pause, I say, “But it will be.”
Praise be to God!