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How are you? Fine Thanks!

How many times have we heard or pronounced this sentence before?

How many times have we actually meant it?

Well… it might depend on the meaning that we attach to the word “fine”.

Does it mean “I’m doing ok, nothing really special going on, everything is kind of normal” or is it more something like “I need to say something otherwise I might sound rude, let’s go with the safest thing I can say, regardless on what is actually going on with my life, who cares anyways…”? There might be a ton of other iterations within this spectrum all of which are aimed at concealing what is “really” happening from the inside out.

Why do we do that?

To protect ourselves from people we believe are incapable of either sharing our joy or containing our sorrow?

To pretend to ourselves that everything is going “just fine” even when it might not?

There seems to be a common unspoken understanding between us humans that it is ok to use this expression to get out of an uncomfortable situation very quickly and most importantly without any social damages, thus preserving some sort of etiquette.

When have we learned that becoming αναίσθητος (from Greek “anaísthitos”: incapable fo feeling) towards ours or others’ feelings is actually a good thing? How does this custom contribute towards our social development?

I personally think that this expression is an easy way out for not having to make any effort to “deal” with our or others’ emotions. Yes, it sounds like a burden we were going to bear if we made one step too much, as if we were going somewhere we could never come back from. What are we really scared of? Is it so terrible to let others know how we truly feel? And what if the other person has really something great to share or needs our support to go through some tough time? We were gifted all is required to “deal” with that: a set of ears, one hearth and a voice. If we start doing the exercise of “tuning in” with one another more often, we might even learn how to use these gifts in the right order and with the perfect frequency :-) Next time you are about to ask someone “how are you?” would you promise to really mean it? The other person would “feel” your true intentions.

Have you ever thought of a social convention that you find more detrimental than useful?

Would you like to share your thoughts on it?



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