The Loudmouth Protestant

August 5, 2009

How Are You?

Filed under: life,relationships — nickisym @ 7:19 pm
Tags: , , ,

Do you ever notice when you ask people that question, their response is always the perfunctory, “I’m Fine”,  “I’m okay.” No one ever dares to go in depth. Why is that? I’ve been thinking about that lately. I thought about it on Sunday morning when I realized that a fellow dance ministry member seemed to be a little down. Her taking a seat next to me took me from a 10 to a 2 so I felt compelled to ask her if everything was okay and she actually said yes. I felt sorry for her because I didn’t understand how she could be in a church, sitting next to a like-minded person who asked her how she was doing and she didn’t feel compelled to express her true feelings. Were we not in our city of refuge?

Then there was an occurrence this afternoon. As is my normal stance while I’m at work, I’m on various IM platforms. Usually, AIM and GChat. On the latter, a friend asked me how I was doing and I responded to her in long form. After I finished she said, “U really told me how u were. Doesn’t happen enough.” And she was right. I rarely tell her how I’m really doing. I rarely tell people how I’m really doing. Partly because it would take a lot of time and partly because, nowadays, it doesn’t seem people really want to know nor do they really care. This is a huge problem in my estimation.

In order for us to truly be the community, the one inside the body of Christ and the one outside of the body of Christ, we must realize when someone is trying to be our keeper. We have become entirely too accustomed to living these siloed lives where we figure we will just function on our own. Either that or we’ve become too selfish to concern ourselves with people other than ourselves. But I believe we are called to be our brothers and sisters’ keeper. And in order to be their keeper, we must avail ourselves really finding out how they are doing. We must avail ourselves to really telling people how we are doing. And sometimes that means that this won’t just be something we can rattle off on our keyboards via Facebook, Twitter or any other social networks. We need to be able to tolerate going to a deeper level with people and trusting people with our deeper levels.

We need to move “How Are You?”  from a perfunctory greeting to a genuine query that we pose to each other to get insight into each other’s lives on a daily basis. When we do so, we open up the gates of community and true fellowship. It is only through being transparent with one another that we can then tap into each other’s needs and thus fulfill them according to what we have. How can I pray for you if you won’t tell me how you are really doing? How can I help you if I don’t know you need help? How can I be my brother or my sister’s keeper, if he or she keeps the real matters of their life from me? How can I be kept if I am keeping things from you?

So this is a challenge to not be afraid to go deeper the next time someone asks you “How are you?”  Do be so concerned about the length of your response or if you think they want to hear it. It may surprise them that you decided to share the issues—or non-issues of your life. It may condition them to expect it every time they ask someone and train them to be more forthcoming themselves. Long story short, don’t be afraid to go deeper.



  1. My favorite is when you ask someone a question or say something they don’t expect… yet still answer like a robot. Like… If you say: “how was your weekend?” when they expected to hear “how are you?” and the answer you receive is, “I’m good, you?”

    Comment by Jessica — August 5, 2009 @ 7:49 pm | Reply

    • Jessica, I am definitely guilty of that one. I can be such a robot at times. 🙂

      Comment by Nicole Symmonds — August 5, 2009 @ 11:32 pm | Reply

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