Alanea White

I have long noted that when asked “How are you doing?” many folks simply respond with “I’m fine.” I am not sure where exactly it comes from, Mid-Western stubbornness, a desire to not be a burden, worry that those asking really don’t care, or some combination of all of these plus other reasons. 

This week in our house I hope that we have learned that simply saying “I’m fine,” is not an option. 

Several of my family members are working to maintain quality of life while dealing with severe medical issues. When asked how they are, they also pull the standard answer of “I’m fine.” 

When telling a doctor over a video appointment, that everything is fine, the doctor has no way of knowing any differently. Pretending that everything is fine, in this instance isn’t an option. Skipping the steps of having to reexplain situations, back pedal and asking for help would have been avoided with an upfront answer in the beginning. Help could have been on the way much quicker with a few extra words added to “I’m fine.”

As someone who really detests small talk, when I personally take the time to ask how you are, I really do want an answer. Feel free to tell me about your great morning, or your terrible night. I genuinely do want to know how  you are if I ask. Most often I will help you when I can.

“I’m fine,” has long been a pet peeve of mine. 

Not sharing that you have a problem and brushing it off with a simple response doesn’t allow others to know you need help. Specifically when talking with medical professionals, authority figures (think your boss), or others in a space to help you. These folks often have no way of knowing that you need help unless you speak up. Usually these folks are asking you how you are so that they can help you. 

For some folks suffering in silence seems to be the modus operandi. To be quite honest, this is silly. Why use the extra energy on being frustrated, stuck or hurting when you could ask for help and move forward?

 In my opinion showing off that hardy Mid-Western attitude doesn’t really help anything. Things don’t need to be so hard, let people asking know when you need help, they might surprise you.   

Alanea White is the editor of the Moose Lake Star-Gazette. She can be reached by email at

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