How Are You? No, Really!


How Are You? No, Really!

flowers-675949_640"How are you" is both one of the most shallow and throw-away phrases ever, and also one of those meaningful and profound.

It is often used to say "hello" and when the person says "how are you?" it is clear they don't expect or desire an answer. Sometimes that's obvious; a clerk in a store who says "how are you today" doesn't have time for much more than a one word response, and certainly has no time to be your personal therapist.

There are also people who you hope want to know, but it turns out they don't really want to know. These may be friends,  neighbors, family members who change the subject or walk away when they realize you plan to actually answer the question, "How are you?"

In caregiving, people often ask "How is -----" (your caree, your loved one.) And that is a wonderful, thoughtful question--one we are usually only too happy to answer.

But we also need those people who will ask us "How are you?" meaning "How are YOU?" with an attitude of actually wanting to know the answer, and BONUS if they actually intend to support us or assist us when they understand the answer.

It's those people I'd like to salute today. To you, I raise a toast of thanks and appreciation.

So here's to neurologist #2, Dr. Antuono from our teaching hospital, who sent Tom out of the room for testing, and then began asking me questions about how I was doing. I said, "Oh, I know this isn't about me." And he answered, "Oh, but this is very much about you. Your husband will not do well unless you are also able to do well." Thank you, Dr. A.

And here is to the grocery clerk at Trader Joe's who said, "How are you?" and when I answered "Fine, thank you." he pushed just a little harder. "Actually, I would really like to know. I like being personal with my customers, and i pray for them if they have concerns. There is no one in line behind you.  So, how are you?"  and out it poured, the loss of three of our parents in a span of five months, and Tom's diagnosis in the midst.

And here's to the friends who combine the question with some very direct eye contact and a touch to the shoulder when asking, "How are you?" or "How are you holding up?"

And ... last but far from least, to my friends on, who greet me close-to-daily with the very genuine question "How are you, Mar?" and clearly lend their listening ears and buddy-taping prowess while I either squeak out or pour out an answer.

A sincere "How are you?" can change a moment, a day, a year, a life.

So ... how are you?

No, really. How ARE you? And, how are YOU?

(Please feel welcome joining folks who really want to know in the twice daily chats (2 p.m. and 9 p.m. Eastern) as well as the other chats listed in the Chat Schedule. You also can share about your day in our "Tell us about your day" forum.)

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A wonderful reminder, Mar, of the service we can perform when we ask, \"How are you?\" and then really listen. The gift of a caring listener is priceless.\r\n\r\nI'd love to know how are you are. :)