blogging gobbledygook and such

How are you, really?

Have you ever revealed something you consider important to a good friend, only to get a reaction (or lack of) that you don’t expect, given the importance of that piece of information is to yourself?

That is one of the reasons that has drawn self to personal blogging. While not everything here is considered so incredibly important that it has to garner a mandatory comment from anyone, and not everything that is considered important to self is said here, it helps somewhat to be able to release some mental activity here, even if nobody leaves a comment. It’s like telling your teddy bear secrets when you were a kid. You don’t expect it to talk back to you, but you would expect a friend to have some sort of reaction should you choose to share it.

Have always felt that self’s reticence is the barrier that stops self from feeling really close to friends. While do cherish them very much, they are not people who self would immediately run to if am facing personal problems. Would rather mull them over alone or release them through blogging. The reason for the barrier is that lack of reaction was talking about just now. It feels as if they are not really interested in hearing self’s woes. That feeling seems to be further confirmed when after revealing that part of self to them, they never bothered to ask self if things are getting better.

You wouldn’t really need an invitation to pour your heart out to a close friend, but at the same time, it feels nicer when you know your friend is personally invested in you. She wants to know how are things going on with you not because you happen to mention it the other day, but because she wants to know for herself if you’re okay.

Because that is how self am when you choose to confide in self. Will listen to you, will sympathise, will try to empathise, will advise, will emotionally invest in your problems, and will make it self’s concern that you are okay the next day. Because you mean that much to self.

So that’s why when people ask how are you? to self, would give the vague, meaningless answer that is to be expected from phatic communion.

Comments on: "How are you, really?" (10)

  1. It happens all the time. I have to admit that I am often guilty of the act of casual listening. I can get so wrapped up with what is on my mind a person can telling the world is ending in two hours and I might be oblivious to what they just told me. It is careless of me but it does happen.

    (p.s. you might want to check your blog. I think you were spammed the other day. I noticed in the old comments section of my blog where several people got the same exact message on different posts by a poster called Ide Troce. (Hmm sounds very similar to I am de troll.)It was not long afterwards I noticed I receied the same exact comment on one of my old posts. Smells fishy to me.

    sulz: we’re all guilty of that too, all what we can do about it is to try not to. if you’re too busy to spend some time with your troubled friend, maybe make time later in the day or keep in touch often. as for self, if were to be totally friendless would not go and commit suicide (because am too afraid of the pain and what happens after death) but not everybody is like that. sometimes our care and concern goes a long way, longer than we can even imagine! 🙂

    oh yes, have noticed that too, just like you via old comments reappearing again. strange is that it doesn’t leave a url, so it’s pretty pointless!

  2. I’d rather have a friend like YOU, than like those of yours that don’t recognize the magnificent friend they have IN you. There are very few people I really confide in. If I really need to, I will sit just one friend down in front of me and discuss the situation. I pick people who WILL ask later, and care about the answer. I believe you will find people like that, because you deserve them. In the meantime, we are here…

    sulz: them friends are probably like what thescoundrel is guilty of doing (just as all of us have been at least once in our lives!); they’re too preoccupied with their business. that said, have never really had heart-to-heart talks with them, so perhaps they do not feel close enough to pry into self’s business, so to speak. but it is precisely that they don’t ask that self don’t tell.

    well, why do you think am blogging? 😉

  3. Ogden Nash once and for all established his American-ness with this ditty about friends and ‘how are you’ questions:

    Do not tell your friend
    About your indigestion;
    How are you is a greeting,
    Not a question.

    So if friend is American, basically don’t tell deep stuff 😉 He/ she has already moved on (says Ogden).

    If friend is European, don’t say you are fine while looking constipated; they usually get offended because you clearly do not trust them (my experience).

    If friend is British, it varies hugely.

    If friend is Indian, oh well, we do not ask how you are; we just proceed to fix it for you. Single? Here, a blind date with my first cousin’s wife’s step-father’s neighbour’s cat’s friend’s cat-sitter. Married? How come no children? Tired? You work too hard. Sad? Too bad. Happy? Why, how come, let me change that for you… 😉

    How do I know? I _am_ Indian, that is how.

    PS: Found your blog through WP forums. Had seen it once before. It is fun to read, esp pet peeves.

    sulz: hello and welcome! 🙂 and thank you for the compliment. haha, interesting way to know how to answer this question based on the nationality of the speaker!

  4. Just curious Sulz, are you usually the one offering emotional comfort to your friends? I ask this because in my experience, when people rely on someone else as a “pick me up” they are often completely unable of reciprocating when the one that picks them up needs picking up.

    Shefaly’s comment about us Americans is spot on- We say “how’s it going?” to each other while passing at mach 5 and are quite taken aback when we get a response other than “good.” It just doesn’t compute in our brains.

    sulz: well, am that sort of person who’s naturally nosy, so would often ask questions that somehow lead to friends confiding to self, haha. what you say is true to an extent, but only in cases where someone confides in a person he or she looks up to like a mentor. am definitely not seen like that among friends, so it would be nice if they showed some interest in self as a person. mean, not that they don’t, just that they don’t on a more personal level.

    so how are you cannot be taken literally anymore? we are expected to lie or be vague even when we don’t feel fine? that would be sad, if we have to be like that among people we love!

  5. Indeed – at least here in the states, we are totally disingenuious (I just know I’ve butchered that word)when we ask how folks are. It’s seen as a polite courtesy to ask, although it’s implied that we don’t really care what the answer is. It’s used interchangably with “hello” to fill up the awkward silence after we say hello to those we don’t really wish to speak with.

    It’s kind of like when people say “happy holidays” – to which I often reply “which ones?” In a sarcastic attempt to get them to feel uncomfortable by removing the political correctness collar around them.

    “Happy winter solstice to you as well!” is my usual closing….either that or I mention something about the “elf-god of the forest” to whom regular sacrifices must be offered as tokens of appeasement. That usually sends them on their way wondering why they ever bothered to invade my cubicle space.

    In today’s office culture there’s a strategic element to having folks think you are slightly crazy.

    sulz: haha! pity your well-meaning colleagues lah. 😛

  6. I’m a bit like that as well. I’m less likely to talk about a problem with someone than I am to sit down in a quiet place and try and work it out for myself. If I feel it’s serious enough or it’s something I’ll need help with, then I’ll choose a person who might be able to give valuable input rather than just because it’s someone I feel close to. It’s not that I think my friends wouldn’t be concerned but I value my privacy and there are some things I’d rather even my friends didn’t know about… I know that sounds analytical, but I think we all have a mask we wear to some extent. I probably wear mine more than others.

    Maybe it’s a double-standard, though, because I’m often the one people come to when they want advice. And I’m happy giving it; it’s nice to know they value me that much, so I probably should let my guard down more. Easier said than done, though! Or maybe it’s just a guy-thing. 😉

    sulz: some guys are like that. don’t like to confide in someone who doesn’t feel comfortable in confiding in self either, because it feels like a one-way thing… for sure, we all have secrets. even shameless bloggers like self. 😛

  7. My manager always ask me, “How are you?”

    It gets to the point that I have run out of replies. What do ppl expect when they ask that? That we really tell the truth as what we are thinking / feeling then?

    sulz: yeah, sometimes that is a very ambiguous question. do we take it literally or is it just a greeting that we have to reply as fine even if we’re not? well, the general rule of thumb is that you don’t share how you really feel with someone who’s not close to you, but you can feel free to share if it’s someone close to you, perhaps. 🙂

  8. How are you? has always struck me as a strange query considering the fact that most don’t really want the answer.
    Friends will listen to your response but seldom offer an adequate response.
    Brilliant post.
    Should you ever need a shoulder, I have real big ones.

    paz, Sulz
    ~m

    sulz: guess it’s one of the many ironies in today’s phrases. 😉 as for adequate response, sometimes they are unable to do so because they just don’t know how to, and other times, well, am sure there are many other reasons!

    wow, thanks for the huge compliment! big or small shoulders isn’t the question; how absorbent is your shirt? 😛 *hugs*

  9. To those ppl who just like to ask but do not care for the reply at all, I just rpt the same q to them 😛

    sulz: haha, yeah lah hor? 😉

  10. Hmm, this happens. It has happened many times with me too. And it’s not only friends, it’s family also. My mother always keeps asking why I don’t try to talk to her and figure out why I’m doing badly at studies. All the people in my family try to talk me out of my current state but it’s just that they aren’t understanding my point of view and are thrusting theirs upon me. That’s why I can’t communicate with them.

    Friends on the other hand are too busy with their own issues to communicate with me and hence they don’t relate to you. I feel blogging and online friends helps because they have not formed opinions about you. They listen to what you’ve got to say and then they give their own views about it. Even if they don’t, atleast you feel that you’ve blurted out what’s in your head just like you said. It’s a fact that it’s difficult to find a friend who will actually care about you and listen to you whine about how everything’s been going wrong. I’ve been guilty of not listening to my friend’s woes sometimes but I try my best always to help them. But in return, I’ve never had them trying to help me. Most of them have been selfish.

    sulz: oh, some people in the family just can’t listen to what you’ve got to say even if they say they are willing to listen. as you said, they’re listening to thrust their opinion on you!

    yeah, blogging about your problems not only helps because your readers do not judge you (too harshly), but they also can provide a perspective you haven’t considered. sometimes feel like do have friends who care, but just not the way self would like. they care in their own way, but it’s not a way self recognise as being truly caring. but do appreciate them all the same, in self’s way. 🙂

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