Our scheduled existence means we cannot stop for everyone we know and have an in-depth conversation. When we ask how they are as we cross paths, we get one of the following standard responses:
Fine thanks / Very well thank you / Good, how are you?
A smile is included and sometimes embellished with a little wave.
We don’t get to hear how they’re really feeling – about the kids losing one shoe at football and causing stress, or the relative going into hospital and causing worry… or the possibility of a bunion forming and causing excruciating pain. We don’t really know whether they are “Fine” or whether they feel on the edge of a rather grown up tantrum.
“Fine” doesn’t tell you anything and yet we accept the response without a further thought and move on. Because there isn’t time for either of us to stop.
So, I’d like to invite you to notice more. Just look and listen. Is the smile a happy one or a well-practiced mask? Does their voice sound relaxed or restrained?
All it takes is quick text later in the day to say,
“Fancy a cuppa?”
and you’ve been there for someone who needs you.
They might well be absolutely “Fine”. But if that word seemed superficial, you’ll be doing your bit as a good friend, colleague, neighbour – even, competitor.
There is more room in our world and more time in our day than we think, when we prioritise simple kindness.
.. Annie ..