The Big Question: How are you?

Maybe it's destiny, maybe it's fate. 
Could all be random.
Or a fine pattern.

Then a person pops the question:

How are you?
How are you today?
Wie geht's dir?

And what are you going to answer...

Wonder what the scientific answers are.
95% say "good"?
Or is that my courtesy?
What do people expect to hear in return?
An honest answer? 
Maybe the simple asking of the question, shows empathy.
Or maybe it's a cultural norm, to ask about others.
I wonder, though, what are you to say if you are not feeling well?
Is there such a rule as:
When my emotional level is down in the negatives.
I better fix it to feel more positive. Is that so?
Do people only connect with positives?
Or is it OK to be in the negatives?
So I asked: "How are you" to a random stranger, lovely lady, maybe 28 years old.

She was crying and sitting under a tree in a park near my office.
I had sneaked out into the sunshine and enjoyed some Coco Manca lunch.

There was no way she had to answer the question.
She was crying, so obviously no positive answer. 
"I hate my job so much, I don't want to go to the office anymore," she sniffs.
"I can't take it, my job sponsors me for this job, but I completely hate it."
I try and tell her to focus on her dream and make it become a reality.
Take the small steps, be grateful what you got at this minute.

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  1. Loved this post! How are you has become such a basic “saying” by this point where I wonder whether people just ask for small talk or actually want to know how I truly feel. I hope that lovely lady is feeling better by this point.

    Arden | Missing Wanderer

    1. H/A! Thx you so very much for your kind words and perspective! 🙂 i haven’t figured it out yet but all what i can do is always mean and be persistent when asking the question.. I guess. Have a lovely rest of the week!! xx

  2. This is such an inspiring post, Finja. To show and exercise interest in somebody else’s pain, regardless if they’re strangers to us, always takes courage. It’s indeed a ‘certified’ display of compassion. Too often though (and this does not refer to the example you’ve mention), we unwittingly try to take ownership of their affliction, even risking suggestions we may or may not know for sure (who does?) that they work. That’s when we cross the line from sympathy to self-absorption. We’re so involved with our own path on this earth, that there’s no room for someone else to just seek shelter with us. Not advice, not ‘comfort,’ if it has to be translated into words, not even that classic sentence that should never ever be repeated, ‘I know how you feel.’ Even if we do, that’s not what the person may need at that particular dark hour. And it may make it all worse. In other words, just to stay with them, quietly, allowing them to have their moment is way more challenging. And it may produce a real connection between two human beings who’re actually helping each other, even if in different corners of a situation, to become better people. Cheers

    1. Wesley!! Ahh, just going through the comments and was SO SURE to have answered yours already — as it was such good feedback! Thank you. I will bear that fine line regarding sympathy and self-absorption in mind….. can’t even put it in words how much I like what you wrote…. Have a great Thursday!

    2. Thanks, Finja. I’ve meant it as a compliment/contribution, not criticism. It’s always a pleasant surprise to visit your blog. Cheers

  3. I love this so much. Personally, I like to be brutally honest and usually when I’m feeling not-so-positive, and somebody asks me ‘how are you?’ I tend to say ‘tired/sleepy’ and then with a tired smile on my face, I ask ‘how about you?’. Those are really kind words you said to the crying woman. You are really empathetic, and I love that.

  4. This is such a beautiful post. I ponder the same question sometimes- “I wonder, though, what are you to say if you are not feeling well?” The saturation of empathy is truly remarkable here.

    1. Awww Rae!! Thank you thank you thank you!! <3 Let me know when you are not feeling well, maybe I can cheer you up over a coffee in London sometime. 🙂

    2. You are very welcome Finja but thank YOU! Absolutely love this piece and the idea of a cup of coffee and a chat 🙂 Will definitely schedule a day hold you to that!! xx

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