“Hey, how are you? Oh, that’s good. Anyway, my morning has been okay so far. I had my coffee, the weather is really nice, but my first class didn’t go as I planned because some of my students are just so lazy and really hard to reach and it makes me WANT TO SCREAM, AND I… oh, wait… did you just say you aren’t having a very good day, either? Oh. I’m sorry.”
Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever done this to someone?
People really like to talk about themselves, don’t they? We, as humans, love to tell our story. We love to complain, we love to whine, we love to just talk about our problems and our feelings and everything always has to be about us.
If we’re constantly talking about ourselves, how are we ever going to know how our neighbor is doing? Our friend? Our family member?
I can’t tell you how many times this past week I have listened to other people’s life stories and have not been asked how I was in return. The number is far too high to count. And that’s a shame.
I’m guilty of it, as well. People ask, “How are you?” I say, “Oh, I’m good.” I don’t even ask them how they are in return. I did it this morning! I actually walked back into the office and asked the secretary, “So, how are you?”
I’ve been thinking of reasons why we do this to others, especially in friendships. As a young adult woman, I have several friends who are currently battling with boy issues, self-esteem issues, work issues, etc. I, too, am struggling with some of the same. As many times as I ask, “How are you with work?” or “How’s the dude?” or “How are you feeling?” I maybe get asked those questions back one-forth of the time.
Maybe I did this to myself. Maybe I have answered, “I’m fine,” too many times in response to “How are you?” when I really wasn’t fine. When I really was the opposite of fine. Maybe my problems seem boring or less significant, but that can’t be.
Because my issues are issues too, and I’d like to talk about them sometimes.
There are moments when I feel like I complain and whine and talk about the same thing over and over again, and that can be not so fun to listen to, so I’m working on that. I’m remembering that I live a blessed life and I have loads to be thankful for, but I’m also remembering that I’m a human and my life isn’t perfect.
To the friend who I forget to ask how you’re doing, I’m sorry. I’ll be more respectful from this point forward. I’ll ask you how you are, I’ll listen to your response, and we’ll talk about it.
To the people who forget to ask others how they’re doing, please ask them. Talk about your feelings, but ask the person whose ear you’re chatting off what’s going on in their life. How’s that boy they’re talking to? How’s work? How are they feeling emotionally? Are they a powerhouse this week or are they needing a little extra energy? And, most importantly, what can you do for them to help them do life this week?
Remember that everyone is struggling in some way. Everyone. And if they have the time to check in with you, then you have the time to check in with them in return.
Now go forth and communicate.