Fine too.

In a previous post, I wrote about the insufficiency of responses such as “fine,” “good,” and “alright,” to the daily question, “How are you?” Reason being is that many times these responses fail to provide information about our genuine emotional, mental or physical states. Our responses tend to be quick and shallow. In the busyness of our day, real concern and care is often neglected unintentionally. In returning to this post, I wanted to offer more solutions than were previously posted. My bad.

The obvious question is, “If I shouldn’t say, ‘Fine,’ than, what should I say?” There are so many good alternatives. A member of my church told me this past weekend that she read my previous post and knew not to ask me how I was doing. I told her should could ask but I wasn’t obligated to give a response of “Fine,” which I did not. Instead, I replied, “Things could be better but I’m grateful for today.” I did not prepare this as a response but when I heard it, I thought, “That was true. Things could be better in many ways. Nevertheless, I’m grateful for today.” So, in thinking of alternative responses, it may be good to acknowledge that life may not be exactly where you’d like it. You might be going through some trials. You may be hurting, alone, stressed or tired. You may just have had enough of it all. There’s nothing wrong saying things are not fine and that things are not good. But find language that suits you, language that you’re safe using and that doesn’t disclose more than what you’re ready for.

While you do that, it’s also important to acknowledge, as cliche as it may be, that things could always be worse.

How are you doing?

Things could always be worse.

But I wouldn’t say that, unless you’re trying to be comical. Do focus on the good. Focus on what you can be thankful and grateful for. If anything, be thankful and grateful for the present of today and being alive. Find and acknowledge the little things.

How are you doing?

Well, I’m a little down but this fall weather’s my spirit animal!

How are you doing?

I’ve had a rough week but I’m looking forward to the weekend. I’ll be traveling to the coast!

Again, there’s many ways to answer the question. Alternative responses shouldn’t be stilted, and even though I offered a sort-of-formula, they shouldn’t be formulaic. Genuine and true, yes.

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