“I’m Fine!” – relationships

Im Fine!
Im Fine!

I recall my first day in a new office environment sitting in a team meeting when one of the fluorescent light began flashing. 

The team leader began to fix it and wanting to make a good initial impression, I jumped up on the desk to help her remove the cover. 

It sprang back and hit me on the nose! 

Concern was written all over her face so I quickly responded “I’m fine!” 

She replied “No, you’re not fine!” 

There was blood dripping down my nose and I sported a shiny black eye for the next week. 

Why do we tend to answer “I’m fine” when it’s blatantly obvious to others that we are not? We are socially conditioned to provide a socially accepted answer. The stranger politely asking “how are you?” doesn’t actually want us to go into detail about our haemorrhoids or the challenging relationship we have with our teenager. 

The response “fine” might be true but it may also be a defence mechanism we use to hide our pain. 

It may be an acronym for Frantic, Insecure, Numb or Emotional. 

When someone we know and trust asks us if we are okay it is often because it is obvious, like the blood on my nose, that we are not okay. 

Unlike a polite gesture, the intent is to communicate that they are here for us whatever we are going through. 

Letting the “fine” wall down allows for genuine expression. If we are willing to openly say what isn’t being said, the baggage we carry becomes a whole lot lighter. 

My office mishap resulted in a great connection with my team leader and became an ongoing joke about how the boss beat me up on my first day of work. 

Not being fine can lead to a closer connection.

By Linda Gray