How are you? You alright? How’s it going?
These are the common pleasantries we exchange with our loved ones, our colleagues, strangers.
But they might not be specific enough to guage how a person is truly feeling.
Recently, digital creator Rekik N posted an illustrated photo that considered all the alternatives we can ask instead of ‘how are you?’.
The suggestions included: ‘How have you been sleeping?’, ‘how can I support you?’, and ‘what thoughts have been circling your brain today?’
There were a few suggestions that gained a bit more attention than the rest.
These questions included: ‘What colour is your heart today?’, ‘what lies do you find yourself believing’ and ‘what story are you telling yourself today?’.
Many poked fun at the questions while others felt they were too intrusive.
— RN (@DopeEthiopian) June 22, 2020
One person commented: ‘I totally understand the intent here. But I’d personally feel pressured and uncomfortable if I was asked most of these.’
Meanwhile another said: ‘Whoever asks me any of these alternative questions is my enemy’.
One person defended the sentiment, saying: ‘Everybody criticising this in the thread is fatally disconnected. Colors are feelings, get you some.’
Rekik also feels it’s important to explore other avenues to express your feelings instead of vague, meaningless phrases.
She tells Metro.co.uk that she agrees with the idea behind the illustration created by artist Keeley Shaw.
Rekik tells us: ‘A simple “how are you” is still suitable, I just think there are alternative questions we can ask that will prompt a more reflective response than “I’m fine”.
‘Although I may not personally ask every question presented in the graphic, answering any of them encourages reflection and self-awareness.
‘The purpose is to recognise and verbalise your emotions and feelings.’
Rekik thinks many missed the point by focusing on just one of the alternatives.
She added: ‘It’s fascinating that most of the comments fixate on the “what color is your heart” question (which I too wouldn’t use).
‘My intention with posting it was to think about the questions we ask and the type of responses they elicit. When I ask questions concerning people’s well-being, the intention is for them to process what feelings come up and have constructive dialogue around it.
‘The dialogue the graphic sparked reiterates the idea behind the graphic in the first place – the words we use should always be in alignment with our intentions and we should always be aware of how our words make people feel.’
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