There are some people who ask how you are and don’t care. Others want an actual answer. The degree of detail sought depends on where the person falls on the continuum of closeness with you.
I’ve recently had my health and emotional ups-and-downs. When most people ask how I am, I just say, “Fine, thanks”. A few people need more detail — the nurse at my primary doc’s office, for example. If I say, “Fine, thanks” to that dear lady, she’ll just laugh and say, “I know about your blog, Corinne; but I need to know how you are today so lay it on me.”
For my friends and close family, I might report the facts of current status. If it’s someone who knows I’ve been to a cardiologist, I might give an update on that weird issue (off the Bell chart, don’t you know). Other close friends know more about any number of situations that rock my composure, as I know of theirs; and we give each other honest assessments. For a half-dozen folks in my inner circle, anything less would be an affront.
But even so, that kind of information can easily be imparted without whining. In fact, it is much easier on me and them if I give them my status in a calm and matter-of-fact way, unless it’s, say — Penny; and we’re having coffee; and it’s Saturday morning; and time for a good old sister-sharing session. Then, either of us might really unload all our troubles on the other, with wailing, gnashing, and lamentations galore.
I don’t consider that complaining, whether it’s me doing the unloading or Penny. We need that sharing to make it through life’s troubles. The release is usually followed by brainstorming, in the very most giraffe-like language, about how to navigate whatever ails us. But on the whole, that kind of burden does not need to be generally heaped on the heads of every unsuspecting person whom I encounter during my daily life.
So, if you see me and ask how I am, and I say, “Fine, thanks”, don’t be upset. I’m probably trying to keep myself on an even keel and avoid whining. Or, perhaps, it’s true. Some days, after all, are diamonds.