It has been quite some time since I have written a piece as a result of a daily prompt but todays prompt grabbed my attention.
The prompt asks what question we hate to be asked and why? It’s a great question and there is one question that I dread being asked and its a fairly simple one. I dread being asked “How are you?” More specifically I dread being asked that question by people who don’t actually want to know the answer.
My abhorrence for this particular question began back in 2002. I had just returned to work after a period of sick leave with a major bout of depression. As was customary in my organisation I met with my boss for a return to work interview. As you might expect the interview began with the customary question. “How are you?” Rather than answer with the customary “I’m fine” I decided to tell the truth and thats where it all went wrong.
After I had been talking for about a minute I noticed that my line manager had broken eye contact and was looking everywhere but at me. He looked at his hands, at his feet, at his watch, out the window, everywhere but at me. As I continued to talk my line manager became increasingly uncomfortable and tried on a couple of occasions to change the subject and I realised that he wanted to simply tick the boxes on his form and get me out of the office as quickly as possible. He had not the slightest interest in my or “How I Was.”
As the years have gone on I have come to realise that the majority of people who ask this question don’t actually want to hear the answer, they just want to hear “I’m OK” and move on. My mischievous side wants to tell the truth when I am asked that question but frankly I would just rather not hear the question at all if you don’t want to know the answer.