Daily Prompt – Plead The Fifth

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.

3 thoughts on “Daily Prompt – Plead The Fifth

  1. whitevanw0man

    After 20 years of mental illness, I’ve tried both being honest and being dishonest in response to this question. I now answer the question with a question of my own -“Do you want an honest answer or a polite answer?”. It seems to be a good way of ending that particular discussion and moving on to much safer, more important discussions on the weather, petrol prices, MPs’ expenses etc…
    And the best question I’ve ever been asked by a doctor, to which i was genuinely confused as to how to answer, was “Are you psychotic?”.

    Like

    Reply
  2. joyroses13

    This is great! I have felt this way a lot too. Its a customary greeting, BUT….you are right, half the people that say it don’t really care. Especially when the ask it as they are walking away, yup I have had that happen.

    Like

    Reply

Sing out here if you want to be heard!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s