The words have become meaningless and yet we still say, “Hi, how are you?” The only genuine thing in that sentence is probably the ‘Hi.’ It is the rare individual that really and truly wants to know how someone is doing. And rarer is the individual that will answer it honestly. On my worst days I will still respond, “Good, how are you?” I’m neither good and I don’t give a damn how they are. Why do we constantly perpetuate the lies of being OK? Why do we ask things we don’t want the answers to? I know many have asked these questions so I’m trying to figure out what I can do to stop it.
I have a co-worker that if I’m out sick, she will “coincidently” be out sick that same week. Typically when I’ve returned to the office she will ask if I’m feeling better and claim she hopes that I am. She then proceeds to tell me how awful it was without me and all the crazy issues that happened while I was out. Inevitably, all that stress catches up with her and she needs to take a day off to recover. When she returns to the office the following week (because she just happens to get sick before the weekend) I don’t feel like asking how she is. I simply don’t care and I’m resentful of her passive aggressive behavior. And yet I feel obligated to ask by social standards.
Not anymore. When she messaged me this morning that she was going to be out sick I said, “I knew that was coming.” Not my typical, “hope you feel better” message. To which she replied, “I’m sorry.” More words that are meaningless. I know damn well she isn’t sick or sorry, so I didn’t say any more. When she returns next week, as she already has tomorrow off, I will not ask how she is, nor if she is better. And if I’m asked how I’m doing my response should be, “getting by” or “still alive”, factual and not too personal. For some crazy reason I feel that by making this proclamation and following through will be some small victory.
Something I need to be careful of is my growing desire to be that blunt and uncaring with everyone. I’m recognizing that my with my depression comes a lot of resentfulness and misplaced anger. This is all very bad when you work in a helping profession. I have reached a level where I will do what I have to, but just barely. It doesn’t help that the office morale is in the toilet and people are quitting left and right. But I know that my issues go beyond just low morale. If I don’t constantly remind myself of that, I am fearful of pissing off the wrong person.
So I’m writing this as a guide and reminder to myself. Screw the niceties with the coworkers, but keep faking it with the supervisors and clients!
And how are you today?