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Last night, we attended a 40th birthday party for a dear friend. I confess I am not a big fan of parties. For years, I would beat myself up for disliking parties so much because from my perception everyone else in the world LOVES parties. Give me a quiet, intimate conversation with a glass of wine any day over the, “it’s so loud I have to shout at you so that I will keep my sentences short and minimal.” But I was excited to get out and celebrate 40 years of living with a very dear friend.
At one point in the night, a friend of mine and I grabbed a quiet table in the corner to share our desserts and catch up.
I asked her the standard, “So how is it going?” question.
She sighed deeply and said, “Do you want the honest answer or the fake answer?”
I smiled and said, “Honest of course…always honest.”
She preceded to share about how challenging the past week had been with juggling all her various responsibilities.
The conversation was brief because we were at a party and quickly interrupted. But her initial question stuck with me, “Do you want the honest answer?”
I wondered how often when someone asks us, “How are you doing?” do we silently ask ourselves, Do you REALLY want to know what I am struggling with? And on the other hand, how often as the person asking, “How are you doing?” do we REALLY want to hear the honest answer?
Granted we don’t always have time to respond to the question in the detail and honesty it deserves and not everyone deserves to hear the in-depth, honest answer. But how many of us are NOT sharing the honest answer with those closest to us? How many of us have gotten into the habit of editing our answers so much that we genuinely don’t know how to answer the question honestly? Or automatically assume people don’t want to hear the honest answer to the question?
So pause for a moment and HONESTLY answer the question, “How are you doing?”
How are you FEELING?
What are you DESIRING?
How is life going for you, the good the bad and the ugly?
To expect other people to care about the answer, we need to care about the answer too. After you have answered it, find someone you love to share your answer with. Call a friend, cuddle with your partner, visit a family member and share your answer and then ask them to share theirs. Don’t have anyone yet who you want to share your answer with send me an email and let me know how you are doing.