If someone asks you how you’re doing, what’s your initial response?
If it’s to say “I’m fine, how are you?”. This answers the question (vaguely) and gets the attention right back to the other person.
“I’m fine” is usually bullshit.
I’m fine can mean anything and everything from “If I don’t say what I’m really feeling it won’t be true” to “If I say what I’m really feeling I’ll implode like the wicked witch on wizard of oz.” At least half the time I use the phrase because I just can’t put into actual words what I’m feeling. It’s just another thing to think about – and when you have forty five berjillion things running through your head, well, it’s easier to just say “I’m fine” and move on with life, right?
The thing is – this usually tends to backfire sooner rather than later.
I’m learning more and more about masculine vs feminine, and the way we communicate, it’s really fascinating. We women just want to feel safe, and heard. But we also want someone (more specifically the man in our life!) to just pick up on that – and that ain’t gonna happen! So – communicate your needs! I learned something in Alanon that is really applicable to everyone, every day.
“Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don’t say it mean”.
If you tell your husband you’re fine – chances are he’s going to be like “hey, cool, she’s fine”. And then we get all pissy because their telepathy is obviously jacked up. They aren’t equipped like us – their telepathic abilities are usually ‘out of order’. It’s like being mad at the fish because it doesn’t bark.
We have to explain it to them in terms they’ll relate to – like this: Think of your internet browser. Now imagine 1,000 tabs open, and notifications popping up from your social media accounts and a podcast playing and your bank statement is showing a different balance than the checkbook and you’re trying to pay a few bills and the kids are asking what’s for dinner and the phone is ringing – whew. – all at the same. Fucking. Time.
That’s a woman’s brain.
There’s also a great analogy about a mans’ brain being a room full of boxes, and only one box can be open at a time, whereas a woman’s brain is a tangled ball of yarn (or wire, or whatever you need to say to make it click) where everything is cross-referenced and entangled.
Another woman, though, can really understand the complexities of “I’m fine”. If you tell your best girlfriend you’re fine, she’s going to say “no – really – how are you?”.
This is why it’s so very important to have female friends you can share with! Your tribe.
As women, we have to share. This is why it takes 20 minutes to tell a 10 minute story! We want to get all the deets in – and have the other person really feel like they’re there with us. It’s part of how we’ve evolved. And we need at least one person we feel safe enough to share anything with.
Our men on the other hand (and this is a very general statement) want to be “fixers”. If you say you’re fine, he’s going to assume you’re fine. If you vomit your emotional musings all over him – he’s going to freak out and try to figure out how to make you feel better. This is where the compromise comes in. If you’re feeling crappy – say “Hon, I feel like I need a hug”. If you’re struggling with making a decision or want to get his thoughts – try “I feel ____ about ____, what do you think?”
Clear communication will be your friend thru this – and leave the “I’m fine”’s for when you’re really just fine.
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