I hate when people ask me if I'm OK


#1

Title pretty much sums it up. I hate when people ask me if I’m OK. Why is it that I’m not allowed to show any emotions other than being happy all the time? If I don’t have a big fake smile plastered on my face, people seem to always assume that something’s wrong. And even if there is something wrong, why do people feel entitled to know what it is? Even if I’m not OK, unless you’re God or my mom or someone like that, I’m not going to tell you so I really wish people would mind their own business. I guess I also get frustrated when people ask me this because most of the time, I am in a good mood, but the few times I’m not, I get questioned about it. Gosh, am I not allowed to be human sometimes? :pensive:

How should I respond to people when they ask me this? I’m trying to think of another answer other than, “I’m fine.”


#2

A bit of context might help. Who’s asking, and when/where? It rather matters.

Keep in mind too you can answer questions without giving all the details. Something like “a bit of stress lately, but I’ll be fine” is a perfectly good answer. Or even “there’s some personal stuff going on right now and it’s making me a bit worn out.”


#3

Sound kind of down there, bud - are you okay?


#4

I think it’s often meant as a gesture of support, not an accusation.


#5

It varies as far as who’s asking.

But I think that even saying that much that you said there tells people too much, or at least in my experience it does. Because often then, people will probe me for even more information. And like I said before, unless it’s someone I’m really close to, I don’t like sharing that kind of information with people I don’t feel close to.


#6

But do people even realize that often times just by asking that, it makes a lot of people feel even worse? Because most of us, if we are actually upset about something, probably are trying to hide it and then having people ask us about it makes us feel even worse that we can’t hide it.


#7

If they ask for more information after that, it’s ok to just say “I’d rather not talk about it. How about sportsball?”

If they keep pushing, that’s because they’re being rude.

That’s actually not always the case. A lot of people really do appreciate being asked if something is wrong.


#8

OK, I guess I shouldn’t have generalized like that. I’m just speaking for myself then.


#9

There’s an aphorism attributed to different people that goes along the lines of “Pain shared is decreased, joy shared is increased”


#10

It’s ok - I get it, there are a lot of times where I don’t want to be asked. Although I’ve actually come to appreciate it more over the years as I’m around people who mostly actually want to help (rather than judging) and will back off if I indicate I don’t want to talk. There are certain people I don’t want to ask though, usually because I don’t trust them to not keep prying or try to “help” in bad ways.

But it helps to consider that if someone does appreciate being asked if something is wrong, they may see that they’re sharing the favor with you as well.


#11

I guess there are many smart ways to answer the question “you ok?” But possibly the sure fire way to reduce the pool of people asking is to tell them how you are. That’s my experience but then since turning sixty I’ve developed maladies for which there are no known labels! (A lie for effect only). wouldn’t it be great to say the truth but we must encourage their empathy with a sweet smile and a “yes fine thanks.” Unless as others have said, that actually you would like some help.

I used to be asked the same question when I was young, perhaps my face was frowning unbeknownst to me and I must say it does get tiresome several times a day. But here’s a thought, wouldn’t it be worse if no one ever asked?


#12

If it is something very personal, yet you are so upset you cannot hide it on your face I understand that quite well!

Have you thought about saying “I am upset but it is very personal, would you please pray for me, thank you” I have done this MANY times, and thoughtful people will generally say “of course” and perhaps give a pat on the shoulder or sign of support. I don’t know people that would stand there and pry really. If someone were to ask again I would simply repeat myself “I am upset but it is very personal, would you please pray for me, thank you” and eventually the person would understand that I am not going to reveal anything. Hope that helps.


#13

"I’m fine, thanks for asking. How are you? "

That is what most people answer, and that is all you need to say.

I do think you are making a bigger deal out of something that most people let roll off their shoulders. I don’t know how old you are, but there really is nothing wrong in people asking if someone is okay.


#14

No, I didn’t mean it when people ask, “How are you?” as a conversation starter. I mean as I go along doing whatever it is I’m doing, and I have somebody ask me, “Are you OK?” in the sense of that they see that I’m unhappy, tired, etc… That’s what I meant.


#15

And my answer remains the same.


#16

Sometimes a lighthearted answer works too. I’ve been known to go with “Oh, could use a gallon of coffee and a nap, you know how it is” or something.


#17

Haha I may have to steal this one from you, hope you don’t mind. :wink:


#18

Go for it. I have also been known to substitute a desire for chocolate in, or a week off, or someone to clean my house for me. Really anything fairly light that pretty much anyone who’s not fantastically rich would want.


#19

People don’t usually go up to people they barely know and ask them if they are OK unless there is evidence that suggests that the person is not okay, and it might be due to something the person can control, such as the temperature of the room, offering of a seat, adjusting of the blinds, or providing directions to the facilities. If you are talking about people who are close to your such as a nosy mom or sister, then you can use whatever more polite substitute for “mind your business” you prefer.

However, if you find that people you barely know are frequently wondering if you suffer from chronic constipation, you may want to consider that your public disposition is unpleasant. It’s not usually necessary to “plaster a fake smile” to avoid being asking if you are “okay” on a constant basis. However, people feel uncomfortable if someone is scowling at them and they can’t figure out why. They become insecure. They wonder if their breath stinks. They wonder if you don’t like their shirt. They begin to worry if they are inadequate to you in some way.

Lots of people are not fully aware of how much disgust shows on their face. My husband is one of them. When he is not engaged in anything particular and his mind travels to something he disapproves of, he stands there in full view of the public with an expression of contempt on his face that gives anyone who approaches him the impression that he thinks they are literally composed of dog droppings. He has to be careful about this when in the work place, where this is unacceptable. He also has had to be apologetic about this in more casual environments and confess to people that it isn’t personal. He was just thinking about selfie sticks and how much he hates them.


#20

People are being concerned for you. It’s fine if you don’t want to discuss your private business with them, but there’s no need to feel hostile towards them for asking, especially if as you said this only happens “the few times” you’re not “in a good mood.” If your being in a bad mood is an occasional thing, then it’s normal for people to see it as something unusual and ask you if you’re okay. If you were in a bad mood most days of the week, they’d just figure it was your normal self.

Most of us who don’t want to discuss our private affairs will simply make some non-detailed response like, “I’m okay, I just feel a bit stressed due to final exams” or “I didn’t get enough sleep last night, so I’m a bit grumpy today. It happens”. You can usually come up with some essentially truthful response that doesn’t reveal private details and is more tactful than “I don’t want to talk about it with you.”


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.