I remember coming home from school as a high school student, and my parents would ask me a series of questions: "How was school?", "How're your grades?", "How was practice?"
Some days it was a combination of the questions, others it was just one. I remember these mainly because I remember how I replied 80% of the time: "Fine". I fell into responding to questions, engaging with people, and contributing to dialogue with words or phrases including "fine".
"How are you?
This exchange in conversation used to be the norm. No one actually talked about how crappy their day was or was authentic in engaging in these conversations. Why? I can speculate numerous reasons, with a few being that people think it's socially unacceptable to talk about how they are really doing, that they'd be looked at differently if they didn't "have it all together", or because they didn't feel safe to be honest in that interaction.
We are living in a world of "I'm fine" robots-responses to many questions, and now, fast forwarding to present-day, it's changed.
"I'm fine" has now become "Good! Just busy!"
We have seemingly replaced this robot-response with a more productive, over-achieving, and hustling response to the "How've you been?" question.
"Good! Just busy," assumes the position of many things. We often feel like we have to respond with proving that we've been busy so that we're not looked at as lazy. In a world of be more, do more, achieve more, make more, "busy" has become the new expectation. As if we were saying, "Well if you aren't busy, then what are you doing, really?"
Think about the relationships you have and how you respond when people ask how you are or have been. Think about how you respond when someone asks how your day or weekend was. How do you reply? Is it with "It was good! Busy, but good!"
If you do, is there any other way to describe your day or weekend or state of being? Could you reply with answers to what you enjoyed doing, people you saw, or how you actually feel?
And on the receiving end, are you expecting people to say "Busy!" - are you open to actually hearing about how this person is or how their weekend was? Or do you nod and smile, asking no questions or validating remarks to actually engage in the conversation?
As a people, we get to decide how we respond. I challenge you to start being authentic with people. If you say things other than "I'm fine" or "Good, just busy!" you will often find yourself creating and maintaining more wholesome and connected relationships. Taking the time to hear someone, instead of brush them off in a hurried response, can be more intimate and relationship-building than you would think.
If you have article suggestions or topics you would like to learn about, drop a comment or email me! I'm always open to suggestions.