“Are you okay?”
I think we all have this conversation every day and we go away having no idea how the other person really is. It’s a well-rehearsed and ritualised exchange engrained into our lives. Every time I have this conversation, I say I’m fine. The thing is, I’m not.
It can be so hard to have that conversation, to say, actually, I’m not ok. I assume that the person asking doesn’t really want to know. They aren’t really asking, they’re being polite, right? And even if they really want to know, am I supposed to talk about it here; at work?, in the supermarket?
I’m not saying that we should sit down and have deep, meaningful conversations that lasts for hours with every person we see (though, wouldn’t that be wonderful?). That said, though, why can’t every conversation have meaning? When someone asks you “how are you?”, how are you really feeling? When you hear the answer “good” or “fine” when you yourself ask the question, is that person really “good” or “fine”? Or are they just saying that because it’s the easiest, most convenient and automatic response?
“I’m fine.” The conversation doesn’t have to go like that though. You could ask “hey, how have you been lately? what’s been happening?” or “you haven’t seemed yourself lately..is there something you’d like to talk about?”. I can only wear my mask for so long. If you ask twice, there’s a good chance I’ll let it slip and you just might be able to help me to find the light again.