Saturday, May 9, 2009

"Are you OK?"

We've all been asked this question at one point or another. But how do we respond?

I usually get asked this question when I'm depressed or stressed. This week, as you know, has been particularly stressful for me. So I got asked this question at least two or three times a day.

"Are you OK?"

How I respond:

"I'm fine."

How I want to respond:

"Am I OK? Am I OK? If I were, would you ask? I mean, I've got a to-do list with a hundred things on it and as I go through the course of my day I get asked to do fifty more things. I'm losing sleep and I may be getting sick. So you ask if I'm OK? Am I OK? What the hell do you think?

It's worse when you're at the grocery store and you get asked this question by the checkout lady. I was at Stop and Shop once, pulling my items out of my cart and slamming them onto the conveyor belt. I was in a furious mood because my car broke down and I had to drive a rental and I had no money for the repair.

The checkout lady looked puzzled.

"Having a bad day?" she asked.

"Yeah, my car broke down and I don't know how I'm gonna pay to fix it."

She smiled. "Oh, I know the feeling, girl. Let me help you with your groceries."

So the checkout lady bagged my groceries and--get this--took them out to my rental for me. She made me feel so much better.

But the point is, she didn't ask, "Are you OK?" She was more specific in her query. And I was able to give her detail because she didn't act overly concerned or nosy, like many people who ask this question.

I know I'm guilty of asking this question. I'm going to try and be more conscientious of doing this, because I have a feeling that a lot of people feel the same way I do.

Not to mention, OK is a weird term. Where did it come from? How did it come to mean "all right?"

Not to mention, "all right" means different things to different people.

So am I OK right now?

Yeah, now I am. It's Saturday, after all. :)


Bud Weiser, WTIT said...

But are you REALLY Ok? :)

Amber said...

you know, I usually answer that question honestly. Not, blatantly, mind you...but enough to be comfortable to know I'm not lying.
No, I'm not. This is bothering me, but I'll figure out what to do with it soon enough. I just need some time.

Sarah said...

I've found that most people don't want an honest answer to "are you ok" or "how are you?" I have a couple people that expect honest answers to those questions, and they're the only ones who get an honest answer.

drollgirl said...

oh that damn question! it is maddening. and many people don't really want to hear the truth anyway.

and i hope things get easier and less stressful for you SOON!!!

Anonymous said...

I know, why is it our natural response is "fine" even if we aren't?

Grand Pooba said...

I hate it when people ask "How are you?" And you say "Good, how are you?" And they walk on by without answering your question.

Or, they assume you're going to ask them how they are doing after they ask you say they automitcally answer. Then they look pretty stupid when they realize you don't care how their doing!


Jenners said...

Just back from vacation and catching up on your blog ... loved this post. Loved the sweetness of the story (always nice to hear) and made me think about how bad this questions actually is. You almost never ask it unless you are pretty sure that something is off with someone so perhaps you can think of something else to say.