Oh yes, I am the great Pretender

 

I am a very private person; I don’t even post a picture of me on my blog. What doesn’t make any sense because I am outgoing and outspoken; I haven’t met a stranger in my life. I talk to everybody about almost everything. I go toward people -I don’t hold back. Still, I keep a wall of privacy around me. 

“How are you,” is the one English sentence I hate the most. How dare you stranger asking me that question? You got me all confused now. Do you care about me and my well-being, or is it just a question that you ask, hoping I will not bother you with the truth?

I am not kidding; this simple question puzzled me for the longest time when I learned English.

“Do I have to tell strangers how I feel?” I asked my husband, and he ensured me I didn’t have to. It’s not really a question, he explained to me. It’s just a nicer form of saying Hello.

So, greeting me with, “Hello, how are you doing,” is a double Hello?

This whole thing didn’t make any sense at all. But….

“Just tell them you are fine,” he said, “That’s all they want to hear. People are polite when they ask that question; they don’t’ really want to know how you are doing.” (What kind of nonsense is that @$%#?)

Of course, I adjusted. “I am fine, just fine,” is my standard answer, even on days when I am not. Like all the rest of us, I keep my troubles private.

Oh yes I’m the great pretender
Pretending I’m doing well
My need is such I pretend too much
I’m lonely, but no one can tell

Sometimes I wish I could share my feelings with the person who asks, but then, why would I burden someone who is gentle and kind with my troubles. Life is not just sunshine  and roses, there are rainy days as well – we all know that.

There are days I feel lonely, seldom I feel blue. I can be bitchy and grumpy; I can be bursting with joy. I am the clown, the one who makes you laugh; I am the deep thinker, who searches for all the answers.

I am fine, just fine!

pretend

Pretend

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21 thoughts on “Oh yes, I am the great Pretender

  1. I never thought about how that question might be confusing to someone learning the language and how it’s used. I don’t use that greeting much but hope that when I do I ask the question genuinely. 🙂 Something to pay attention to.

    • English is very confusing at first. So many words with different meanings. Sayings, like “be right back” that are not specific. It’s an easy language to learn (grammar-wise) but a nightmare word-wise.

  2. That’s not a greeting I use with someone I don’t know, and when I do use it, I intend it as a genuine question … but then again, I’m rather a literal person.
    On the flip side, there are only a very small handful of people I would answer that question with anything but ‘fine, thanks’.

  3. Your husband is right. That is all people want to hear. I learned that when I gave a brief, honest, reply to someone who knew what was happening to me. I was told I should always reply with something nice

  4. I have the same issue with “How are you?”, just like you. My 90 year old God Mother responds with.”Can’t complain”. I always laugh when I hear her say it. When I’m really not in the mood to answer that question I always say, You really don’t want to know, with a giggle. Most people give me that look of…ok, I will step away. It makes me laugh every time.

  5. “How are you” is polite speak for “I asked you, but I don’t really want to hear HOW you are. I’m not listening anyway.” I never knew English wasn’t your “first” language. You write beautifully!

      • Wow! I can say now that I know someone who is tri-lingual! (besides my niece who speaks Japanese and French, besides English). Guten Tag (I don’t speak German..but I have a few words..and I think that means Good Day or Good luck, doesn’t it?) or buona giornata (good day?)… Wow! Now you’ve made MY day right back! Thank you! ❤

    • Most languages have funny and rather old forms of greetings. The Austrian, or German “Gruess Gott” is one of the worst if you are not religious. There is the British “How do you do” what is as superficial as our “How are you.”
      Maybe that’s why young kids prefer to say “Hi” or just “Hello”.

  6. You are more than fine and you just stopped saying “fine” with this post. There is nothing wrong with selecting the people you choose to share your feelings with, like your husband. I agree with you though, when people ask it, they really don’t want to know the truth. How about coming up with sometime more neutral in response like “good morning,” since the person isn’t really asking how you really are, you don’t have to answer. I think I will try, “don’t know….” next time and see what happens.

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