Two girlfriends are out for a drink and one says to the other, “So how’s your boyfriend?”
The other responds, “What boyfriend? I broke it off.”
The first one asks, “Oh no! What happened?”
The other one smiles and says, “He asked me what I was thinking. So I told him.”
How many times throughout the day do the questions, “How you doing?”, or “How are you?”, or some variation of that get asked of you? Let’s see…at Starbucks in the morning, when you walk into the office, as you make or receive sales calls – or conduct some other type of business, at the restaurant, the grocery store, when you say hello to your neighbor, and countless other times. People are asking about us throughout the day. But, rarely do we answer the question candidly and honestly.
Even when our friends and family ask, we often don’t answer in truth. We keep our thoughts bottled up, we avoid showing weakness, we hide our doubts and fears, and we gloss over the pains that are borne by, and bantered about by, our internal voices.
That’s not to say that we don’t feel great at times, even most of the time. Some of us are rarely dampened internally, and when we are approached with the benign inquiries about our well-being, we answer with no less than a robust description of our elation. But most of us tend to feel safe in sharing good feelings and thoughts, and unsafe in sharing negative ones.
Why is that? Do we not want to let people in? Do we think others really don’t care, and thus we feel we shouldn’t open up? Do we not want to hear out loud the words reflecting the thoughts in our heads because we are embarrassed or ashamed of ourselves? Are we just too used to dealing internally with the true feelings, desires, imaginations, and struggles that lie deep within the solitary spaces inside?
No matter the reasons, when a friend or family member – or even a Starbucks barista, or a receptionist at your doctor’s appointment asks how you are, maybe, just maybe, you should break that pattern and open up a little. I think if you do, you’ll eventually find that a few people really do care to hear the answer, good or bad. And how nice it is when you realize that some people really do care.
With that in mind, here’s a few movie quotes on the subject:
“I get so used to saying what I think people want to hear, I forget they might just want the truth sometimes .” – Matt Malloy in In the Company of Men
“Nobody gets me!” – Bill Murray in Scrooged
“The truth will set you free.” – Jim Carrey in Liar Liar
“Truth hurts. Maybe not as much as jumping on a bicycle with the seat missing, but it hurts.” – Leslie Nielsen in Naked Gun 2 ½: The Smell of Fear