• Rajah E. Smart, Ed.D.

How Are You? Such An Underused Phrase--

Several phrases come to mind of statements that are not utilized to the fullest. For the purpose of this, I choose “How are you?” Seems like a simple question, right? It’s one way to measure selfishness. As a narcissist to a degree, I understand selfishness. I was trained by the best. One way to recognize that some folks view you as a sounding board is if they ask, “How are you?” Specifically, how are you and wait to hear the answer. Typically, how are you is used as a segue into a long tirade about what’s wrong in their life. In the past, I’d fall for that, but when you realize how much of a drain it can be, you find talking to yourself is often better.


In my now sheltered life, folks tend to attempt to approach me like they used to and with any response, whether it be a thumbs up or yes, they just rattle off their day or what’s bothering them. Do you ever experience that? It’s even worse in chat as folks will simply ask you for something without the thought of maybe understanding how you are before rattling down a list of all the things that are bothering them with not one thought that you may be having a shitty day. At this stage in my life, I may stroke out if someone asks the phrase and waits for an answer. In this world of gimmie gimmie, I simply seek some level of reciprocation or a deposit before I speak. Do you ever get them folks that just be talking and then sidebar to ask you how you are doing? It would seem kind of irrelevant by that time.


At close to the age of 50, I don’t really communicate with many folks for that reason. I’ve expended enough energy that there is not much in the tank to give freely. Given personal challenges and wisdom, I’ve grown accustomed to reducing the amount of energy discharged. Why? There is not a great payout. I may be spoiled now with all the solitude, but I’m also not interested in personally inflicted issues or redundancy.

I’ve learned that you must re-educate the people in your life by stopping them up front and saying, “I’m fine, thanks.” If they get all huffy and say that they asked how you were doing, it further shows you the level of selfishness. It’s basically, I asked to get it out of the way so I can talk about my self-inflicted issues. It’s a hard reset or simply don’t take the call or answer the text. You may hear, “you used to” but I used to didn’t have to take medication, go to the doctor and get fondled, have muscle and joint pains, or concern myself with things like fiber and hemorrhoids. As we age, so too do wisdom, patience, opinions, care, and so on.


As my group mate, Sophie would say, “Don’t feel like you must be loyal to those that aren’t to you or to those that can’t put money in yo bank before making a withdrawal. I mean, let me collect some interest off that or some overdraft fees before you go taking the money out.” I sometimes receive messages that I share with Felicia. She will then ask me, “How are you? How is work? Are you feeling okay?” Each time it always throws me off. It’s like waking up and thinking you gotta get to work but realizing you still have two hours to sleep.




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