All going great. Thanks!

I have become tired of myself, of my thoughts, of my words, of trotting out the same old, same old litany on every occasion I open my mouth. I have become a misery-guts. A kindly put question, though let’s face it generally a socially required opening line rather than one put with genuine concern, of “how are you?” has lead in recent weeks with my reeling off a line of woes – repeated infections, two abscesses and two teeth extracted following on a hip replacement, supressed immune system etc etc. I’m nearly medically qualified in all of this now; certainly, more so than Google in that I can, at least, be accurate in what I say.

Of course, it has … eventually … dawned on me that people don’t want to hear all of this; they want a simple reassurance that the world of medicine works wonderfully and that all ills can be cured so, a “All going great, thanks” is what they want to hear but, instead, they recognise that tone on the first few words out of my mouth and it sends their brains into shut-down, their eyes glaze over – something I noticed as I have become less self-obsessed in these matters.

Sympathy has a short life span, a short attention span. People have their own lives, their own concerns, their own worries and enquire of the wellbeing of others out of courtesy and in a moment of concern and thoughtfulness. The woes of other people do not occupy their thoughts and lives for they have their own worries and own concerns to occupy them. It is not a fault, not a lack of empathy, not a lack of kindness; it is simply life as it is. One has no right to expect sympathy nor any right to trot out one’s woes to prompt a sympathetic response.

Oftentimes, those going through a period of distress can forget this and imagine that the drama of their own lives will be of interest and importance to others. This is not the case. I am simply a passing acquaintance in the lives of most others as they are in mine so I must curb my tongue in future and let “All going great, thanks” become my stock reply to all enquiries.

Then again, the posting of our miseries on social media might be benefit to others. I read recently a paper by a Stanford University psychologist where he commented on the constant stream of happiness we view on social media, the regular prompting that we share happy memories and the unending promptings to be happy with guidelines on how to achieve it. He suggested that such posts can lead to unhappiness in readers for they are unrealistic – that no life is so constantly full of happiness; that life has its downs and well as its ups.

Might the opposite be true also: that sad and miserable posts might lead to happiness in the readers?

 

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16 thoughts on “All going great. Thanks!

  1. Think you are wrong (again!), Paddy….if people care for you they are happy to listen and sympathise with your woes and tales of plagues and infections….although we bore ourselves whinging about our ailments, it is nice to get a kind word when one is hit by a variety of ailments.
    Prefer to hear about your hip than the usual ‘celebrity cancer!”. Spring is on the way and you will soon be back to your good-tempered and healthy self.
    All good wishes!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Simply a passing aqquaintance” far be it from me to curry favour but that in no way describes my attitude to a very dear cumidge on and his saintly wife!
    I do think many people ask out of courtesy and others ask to reassure themselves that they don’t have to worry about you.
    But you are quite correct in that our diagnosis, operation, treatment and recovery is a continual source of interest to ourselves and family and that others are being kind and some very genuinely concerned.
    I totally agree that you shouldn’t waste your formidable powers of wit, humour and description on those who are kindly observing good manners and save them for those who appreciate ascerbic wit, delicious self-irony and amused toleration of life’s many foibles.
    So when next we meet I shall expect to enjoy hearing all the gory details…..and then of course I’ll have to tell you all mine! -always a catch!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I always smile at the difference between the standard American greeting/response – ‘How are ya?’ ‘I’m grrrreat!!!’ compared to our downbeat ‘Not so bad, thanks’ at best or a list of aliments at worst. In practice, they seem to equate to pretty much the same thing. You could try ‘You really don’t want to know, but I’m very glad to see you’, but I hope your health takes such a rapid turn for the better that before long, you can give a genuine, American-style ‘Great!’.

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  4. Oh I so agree with you Paddy!! There are those who do care but then as one starts to unburden the slings and arrows the penny drops and you think ‘ oh I can’t do this because I know the one who inquires has problems of their own so out comes the well used term ”I am fine thanks” . Relief floods over the face of the friend !! I tend to enter a hermit like existence then until I once more become semi human.
    But………… I do care how you are doing and hope you are out and about very soon back to your cur-mug-ion self that we all enjoy so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. With me, it is that I have become tired of hearing my own voice trot out the list of miseries. I have become tired of listening to myself!

      Like

  5. May I recommend 2 sayings from my dear old mum – Yorkshire.

    ‘How are you? Musn’t grumble.

    On sympathy…………..a wee poem.
    Sympathy, without relief
    Is like mustard……………….without beef.

    …………….the last sums us all up
    There’s nowt as queer as folk!

    And don’t get me started on my family’s woes, we have a block booking at the drs, just in case.
    Lets keep the passing friendship going anyway!
    Stephen

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All going great. Thanks! LOL. No, seriously, all is going well. Hip was a great success but recovery was spoiled by minor side issues which will pass and then I can get back to grumbling about normal things!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. While shopping at a local supermarket I observed a lady in a mobility scooter. Attached to her was an oxygen tank and she had little tubes attached to her nose. As a lady approached her she cheerily asked how she was doing, her friend replied ack I haven’t been doing to well and carried on with her story. I couldn’t help thinking how remarkable this lady was as she sat there connected to the oxygen having such a horrible time. I am sure it’s temporary Paddy, maybe get your question in first. Take care summer is coming. R

    Liked by 1 person

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