How are you? That’s a really big question to ask someone who is suffering.
When I ask someone, “How are you?” am I asking about the person’s spiritual, mental, emotional or physical health? The person may not know how to respond and therefore parrot the standard response, “I’m ok.” Or “Fine.”
So instead of asking, “How are you?” ask questions specific to your friend’s situation/health. “Are you able to sleep?” “How’s your rotator cuff these days?” “Did the blood test show Lyme disease?” “Are your new meds working?” (This suggestion by Letty Pogrebin in her book, How to be a Friend to a Friend Who’s Sick.)
Or maybe you ask one of these questions:
- What do you feel like talking about today?
- What are you thinking or feeling today?
- What worries you the most?
So try asking some of these questions in place of the really big, hard to answer, question, “How are you?”