Being an advocate for accessibility in all areas, and since I am well versed in how difficult it can to get around on a computer when disabled, I will be presenting a talk on it in Los Angeles this February. Here is the information on where and when:
Never tell anyone anything that will make them feel bad.
A common form of greeting in the United States is “How are you?”. This is a question, and to me, every question deserves an answer. Even when this is not used as a greeting, it is commonly asked in conversation. This question invariably poses a dilemma for the person being asked it.
If you want to know how someone is, this is the question to ask. However, please be aware, when asked, you may get an answer you do not want to hear. If you ask the question, please be courteous enough to listen to the answer. If you do not want an answer, find a different greeting to use. “Hi” comes to mind, as does something along the lines of “Hi, there”. “How are you” and it’s brother, “How’s it going”, both require an answer and the time to hear the answer.
I know my position in this is not the modern era approach. However, I am 60 years old now, and I do not think the same way the younger crowd thinks. I do, however, realize that when the younger generation asks these questions, they are being polite and in effect saying “hi”. If someone from my own generation asks, though, they should be prepared for the answer.
I have, on occasion, taken to saying “fine” in response, simply because to repeat the aches, pains, and numbness becomes depressing. If a person is in pain full time, then the question takes on a different meaning to them. We do not want to say we hurt full time, or we can’t walk today, or some other true statement. Instead, we sometimes resort to responding the way we really want to feel. This, you see, is therapeutic in nature. Said enough, it might become true.
No person wants to hear how bad you feel, everyday. No person even wants to hear how bad you feel, when they see you once a year. No person wants to believe you will lie to them, either. When I lived in Korea, they had a very simple way of expressing this fact of life. Never tell anyone anything that will make them feel bad. Remember that, and try to understand why I feel fine today.