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The new social faux pas: how are you doing?

February 5, 2017

Whenever someone asks me "How are you doing?" I want to respond with 'I am doing.' Not the typical response someone expects. I understand people have the best intentions when they are reaching out and to everyone's credit, its not their fault that as a society, we have been trained to use this as an empty greeting or opening question. However, let me honestly break down how these situations go down and why I have come to loathe this question - especially now.  

When asked this question, a person can go one of two ways with their response. First, you have the generic "we're okay"or "we're fine" response which is as hollow and insincere as the 'how are you?' question itself. Fine for those occasions when neither party is actually concerned with the substance and just wants to get into the meat of the conversation. Also equally appropriate when someone awkwardly doesn't know how else to start a conversation (for whatever reason)

The alternative to the generic response is the real response. This often catches the person asking off guard and makes them uncomfortable. Who wants or expects to hear"I have a child with liver failure and I have to monitor every little thing from their feeding volumes to the content of their shit and I can't remember the last time I slept longer than 4 hours at a time?"  Before I sound like I am berating people for asking how another person is, let me say that the fault of this annoying interaction doesn't lie solely with the person initiating the conversation. Often times the person responding doesn't have the time or energy to respond truthfully - thus the vicious social faux pas cycle continues. 

 

Why explain the social faux pas with asking someone how they are?  We feel by explaining our fundamental thoughts, you will have a better understanding how we are doing in terms of processing information, making decisions and essentially tackling this thing called life. We also hope that this brings some awareness to something that people may or may not be sensitive to as they go through various experiences in life.  I personally have encountered events in my life where I remain sensitive to people asking how I am (for example, the death of my mother and what I am going through with Hudson) however, I am sure everyone has a situation in which they can identify with.  

There is a Buddhist saying: 

"if something can be done about the situation, what need         is there for dejection? And if nothing can be done about         it, what use is there for being dejected?" 

Our blunt interpretation of this is we cannot dwell or allow the uncontrollable things to make us unhappy and if there is something that can be done in a situation, don't sit around feeling sorry for yourself, do something.  This perfectly sums up Morgan and I's approach to our situation with Hudson. It is what it is. This is part of our lives now and the sooner we accept it, the sooner we will be able to happily live our new normal. So, the next time someone asks how we are doing, expect us to respond that we are simply doing because we don't know any other way.  

 

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