How are you doing? The clerk caught my eyes, and he knew I meant it and admitted, “I know I’m suppose to say I’m good, but I am tired. I have school, two jobs and I’ve not had a day off in 10 days.” With that, we could have a conversation. The exchange left me to question, the harm we do when we say,” it’s all good?” Has social media conditioned us to say only good things, to curate our lives as perfect? Are we trained to express any concern, frustration or anger with a touching photo, emoji or a repost of some popular meme. After all, no one wants to be labeled a complainer. With all of that, have we lost the ability to express emotions or do we assume people don’t mean it when they ask how are you doing?
Emotional Intelligence is the ability to have empathy. We have an ability to pick up on audio and visual cues. The glib, however polite response, neurologically messes with something. You sense one thing yet a response registers as false. A casual encounter does not mean you press someone into details and don’t stop until you get what you deem to be an acceptable response, some things aren’t for you to know. But, what you can do in the case of an, its all good which runs contrary to what you sense , just say, OK, you look/sound a little distracted/off/ tired. Don’t push them to acknowledge how they feel, just say what you sense and stop. Likewise, when someone asks, how are you doing, it’s not necessary to go into a list or report of what’s happening. You can say, thanks for expressing an interest, it’s a little rough right now, but I’ll get through it.
At work, in life, in relationships, it’s not all perfect. A rough spot in one area can distract us from others. It’s ok to say it’s not the best day. Your communities of work, friends and families are what support you. Give them a chance, and this week, stop, pause and ask yourself, how are you doing?