Tuesday, December 13, 2011

When They Ask "How are you doing?"

I have an issue when people ask "How are you doing?"  I am never quite sure if they really mean it or if they are just casually asking how I am doing.  You know the casual "How is your day going?  How you doin'?"  Where you are required to answer "Fine."  or "Great".  The person doesn't really want to know or want you to go into a long drawn out story of how you are doing.  They just want you to respond in the socially acceptable answer: Fine. 

So, how do you know when to really answer?  I know I am really conservative (probably the only time in my life) when I answer.  I lean toward the "Fine" more than I should.  I find it easier and less painful than starting to really answer and have the person cut me off or be disinterested. 

I rarely answer directly unless the person is a really close friend or they really prod me.  Even with this cast on my foot, I find it difficult to answer with more than "I have a foot problem.  It is fine."  Today I was on the phone with a friend and the first time she asked how I was I said "fine."  Later in the conversation I told her about my foot problem and she googled it while we were on the phone.  She was sweet and expressed how sad she felt that I was in such pain.  But it was still hard for me to say anything.

Does anyone else have this problem?  Does anyone else have a hard time speaking about their medical issues?  Or do you find it easy?  What is your secret?  I would love to hear.


  1. I tend to avoid medical discussions if I can. One, I just don't like focusing on it anymore and two, I tend to want to be alone when I am not feeling well. This is me of course. I know many people have some clever comebacks when asked this question. My husband has a line that I like to use every once in awhile when asked how I am doing. "Hanging in there like a loose tooth."

  2. When someone I don't know asks me how I am (like the checker at the grocery store) I just say "Fine, thanks." It's enough, and if there's further conversation, it's about easy subjects: the weather, the upcoming holiday, etc.

    When someone I DO know--and who I know cares how I feel--I'll probably answer honestly. Like, "My hands are sore, but overall I'm just fine." It's true. Generally I DO feel good, with the exception of the part of me that's flaring. To me, that part is isolated from the rest.

    Like you, I don't want to make someone I don't know uncomfortable by unloading my pain on them. And more than that, I don't want the awful feeling of insignificance that hits when the person I've opened up to shrugs me off or pointedly changes the subject. Talk about feeling small!

    How IS your foot? And the rest of you? Be assured you have a compassionate and empathetic audience right here.

  3. Thank you Deb and Wren! You are both so sweet and helpful! I appreciate your words of wisdom.


Would love to hear what you have to say!