Author Topic: "Are you okay?"  (Read 9740 times)

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Tea Drinker

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Re: "Are you okay?"
« Reply #30 on: September 14, 2013, 04:42:51 PM »
If an explicit "I'm fine, just not as fast as you are, please stop asking, it feels like criticism" doesn't work, try "Yes, I'm fine. Are you okay?" as your stock answer. Maybe if he keeps having to say "no, I'm fine" he'll understand that it's annoying.
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Amanita

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Re: "Are you okay?"
« Reply #31 on: September 14, 2013, 05:03:37 PM »
I'm going to be getting together with him this week, and if he starts in on that again, I'm going to come out and tell him he's doing it too much. I'll tell him that when he constantly asks me that over every little thing, it makes me feel as if he thinks I'm made of glass, or if he thinks I'm constantly on the verge of a heart attack. While I appreciate understanding that I'm not on the same fitness level, constantly fussing over whether I'm okay or not at the most minor provocations just gets old really fast and makes me feel like he thinks I'm some sort of delicate teacup.

NyaChan

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Re: "Are you okay?"
« Reply #32 on: September 14, 2013, 06:21:05 PM »
Some people can be overly solicitous because they think it makes them seem caring and nice and sweet - they don't realize that it can also make them seem annoying or fake.  I have a guy friend who puts a lot of effort into filling the archetypal role of the guy who respects and watches out for women.  It is almost comical to watch him switch into character at opportune moments.  He doesn't realize that he is trying too hard.  I'd be gentle when you talk about it with your friend, I doubt he is doing it with any negative intent and may not have even realized that he has gone overboard.

Allyson

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Re: "Are you okay?"
« Reply #33 on: September 14, 2013, 06:53:35 PM »
This bugs me, too! Especially because when it's constant it makes you feel like *you* are doing something wrong. I have a face that apparently looks unhappy in repose, and I have people asking this constantly, or the even more annoying variant "What's wrong?" I then feel like I have to arrange my face a certain way and it's just..awkward.

But, I'm also the sort of person where if I get minorly hurt I *don't* want anyone commenting on it. If I trip a bit and bump something, I would really prefer if everyone just pretended it didn't happen. I know this is a weird quirk of mine, so I don't blame people for not knowing this. But once I've told someone it's fine I'd really rather they take me at my word and drop it.


Bijou

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Re: "Are you okay?"
« Reply #34 on: September 14, 2013, 08:54:42 PM »
If I did something while driving (like going over a speed bump) and someone made a sound it seems natural to ask if they are OK.  I think you might just have a stock reply..."I'm fine." or something simple like that. 
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Emmy

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Re: "Are you okay?"
« Reply #35 on: September 15, 2013, 12:08:46 AM »
I see how this can drive you crazy.  I once went on a date with a guy who would ask if I was upset if there was a moment of silence.  If I merely smiled or chuckled at a joke, he'd ask me why I wasn't laughing.  I was about to pull my hair out by the end of the evening.  It felt like he was analyzing my every move and it made me feel very self conscious.

I like the direct approach as a few others have suggested.  Just let him know that you know his intentions are good and you appreciate him looking out for you, but hearing that question over and over again makes you feel self-conscious and not enjoy the activity as much.  If this is something he is really used to doing, he may ask you without thinking much about it and you may need to remind him you are fine.  In certain situations, for example when you are walking and he asks the dreaded question, he may mean "would you like me to slow down?"  Others have said it is hard to hear another person make a noise of distress and then have the person say nothing is wrong when asked.  Maybe you could tell him to ask a more specific question such as "would you like me to take these speed bumps/stairs slower" rather than "are you OK".

This may also be a bad habit for your friend and something he does without thinking much about it.  Some people always say 'sorry', others make certain noises without thinking about it, so maybe this is your friend's quirk.  Do you notice if he acts this way with other people? 

kayesse

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Re: "Are you okay?"
« Reply #36 on: September 15, 2013, 04:17:51 AM »
I think your friend is trying to be courteous and respectful of your comfort but lacks the communication skills and/or doesn't know to find out what he really wants to ask and just relies on the phrase 'are you ok' because it's simple. Eg when walking up stairs he might really want to say anything from; am I walking too fast, do you need me to go slower, am I making you feel inadequate, do you need a break, are you coping with the pace etc but its simpler to ask are you ok so you can tell him what you need.
He probably doesn't mean to sound patronising but just lacks the words to show he cares about your comfort and well being.
My partner and I constantly ask if the other is ok which usually translates to mean 'I love you, is there anything I can do to make you more comfortable/happy?'

jilly

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Re: "Are you okay?"
« Reply #37 on: September 15, 2013, 04:58:35 AM »
For things like stairs and hills where different fitness will mean you fall behind can you try telling him to go on ahead you'll catch up or ask him to slow down before he gets a chance to ask the dreaded question? I'm surprised he goes so fast he gets ahead and you get winded trying to keep up, when I'm out with friends slowest person sets the pace.

squeakers

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Re: "Are you okay?"
« Reply #38 on: September 15, 2013, 08:26:57 AM »
Amanita, just tell him the very first time he says it again "Dude, I'm ok".

If he asks again: "I said I was ok." (say it flatly.)

If for some reason he brings it up again on the same day.. stop whatever you are doing and flatly ( no emotion ) and politely tell him you recognize you are not as in shape as he is but you really don't need reminders.

And then go from there.
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Sharnita

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Re: "Are you okay?"
« Reply #39 on: September 15, 2013, 09:45:37 AM »
"I'm ok but if you're trying to get to a bathroom quickly, go up those stairs without me."

Julsie

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Re: "Are you okay?"
« Reply #40 on: September 15, 2013, 03:29:14 PM »
Another possibility?  I knew a guy who took health and fitness very seriously.  We had a coworker who was obese.  Every time she grunted when moving in her chair or got winded going up the steps this guy would ask the same "Are you okay?" question.

It wasn't because he cared... it was because he was disgusted that her weight made moving her body so strenuous for her.  I'm hoping that your friend has much kinder motivations!

snowdragon

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Re: "Are you okay?"
« Reply #41 on: September 15, 2013, 04:34:15 PM »
My last semester as an undergrad I had a professor who just did not look right. He never really complained but he was often out of breath, had bronchitis twice in a semester, was ashen in coloring. I *knew* something was wrong when this normally kind man ( and students raved about him and his wife) turned into an argumentative, angry man who made everything racially based ---I started asking him, every day "are you ok, professor?" two week before the end of the semester he told me to stay after class and said "I have to thank you, because you asked me every day and kept asking, I went to the dr just to get him to tell me i was ok, so I could tell you. Turns out I am not I have diabetes and never knew it. It went far enough that there is other damage too. Were it not for your asking - I could have died, Thank you."
  He could have gotten angry and ignored me - but he recognized that I cared enough to notice  and ask for a reason.
  My advice to  you is to ask your friend why they keep asking - and if they have a ryong "you keep making noises "  evaluate it  and then act as you see fit. It might be they notice something you don't 

Rohanna

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Re: "Are you okay?"
« Reply #42 on: September 15, 2013, 04:58:27 PM »
Maybe it's a passive aggressive way of saying he doesn't like the grumbling- he could be taking the grunting as a complaint about his driving and not a complaint about the existance of speed bumps. Honestly, someone complaining about a normal part of the road every time might get to me too.
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Sharnita

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Re: "Are you okay?"
« Reply #43 on: September 15, 2013, 05:04:19 PM »
He does it when they are on stairs and OP isn't making any noise. And OP has indicated that speed bumps are not something they frequently encounter.

TootsNYC

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Re: "Are you okay?"
« Reply #44 on: September 15, 2013, 05:12:06 PM »
I'm going to be getting together with him this week, and if he starts in on that again, I'm going to come out and tell him he's doing it too much. I'll tell him that when he constantly asks me that over every little thing, it makes me feel as if he thinks I'm made of glass, or if he thinks I'm constantly on the verge of a heart attack. While I appreciate understanding that I'm not on the same fitness level, constantly fussing over whether I'm okay or not at the most minor provocations just gets old really fast and makes me feel like he thinks I'm some sort of delicate teacup.


Please remember--he is not doing something wrong. If I could offer you some advice, I would say, do not attack him, do not use these phrases. Try not to express your annoyance; you are asking him for a favor.

He is acting out of concern for you.


He is not being annoying. You may be annoyed (I probably would be too!), but *he* is not "being annoying."  He's not saying "are you okay?" *AT* you; he is saying it -to- you.


I was thinking of you today as I drove over a speed bump.
I can understand both the "oomph" (I had the urge to do it) and the feeling of hearing it (it would have annoyed me).


I think one thing you might say, when you say, "I know you're acting out of concern to me, but I would really like to ask you to stop," is to say this:
   "When you ask me if I'm OK just because I'm slower than you going up the stairs, or even if I seem to be in discomfort of pain, even, puts all the focus on my physical being--sometimes my lack of fitness, etc. And frankly, I do not want that to BE the topic of conversation. Or the focus of our time together. I would like to simply ignore it. So please follow my lead by ignoring it.
    "I am trying to ignore it--I live with it, and it's annoying, but when I *dwell* on it, then it begins to dominate my life. I would like to ignore it.
    "Also, please believe that if you don't enquire whether I'm OK, I won't feel neglected. I won't feel that you are being inconsiderate because you got to the top of the stairs before me and are waiting. Just wait quietly. You can show me consideration best by simply respecting my autonomy and being patient.
    "Believe me, if I am truly NOT okay, I will tell you. Don't feel that you need to hold that responsibility for my safety all the time. That also is a responsibility I do not want you to assume unless I specifically ask you to do it. It's a matter of being responsible for myself, and you NOT being responsible for me. That's a gesture of respect, not of neglect or uncaringness."

I was thinking about how annoyed I get because so many conversations I have end up being about my chronic cough. It's annoying to others, I know--and people who aren't used to it will ask if I'm okay, or sympathize with me. They're trying to be kind. But the truth inside of me is that suddenly I can't ignore it anymore, and in addition to causing me difficulty in and of itself, now it is ALSO derailing the conversation. It's so incredibly annoying.

I also was thinking about the elevator in my building, and my upstairs neighbor. And my dad. You can hear the elevator from inside my apartment, and sometimes my neighbor's footfalls are audible (not horrible, mind you--she's just walking; the floors are sorta thin).
    Normally I don't even register the noises. I delete them from my brain.
    But when my DAD visits, he has to comment on every little noise. "Boy, you can sure hear that elevator!" "Your neighbor is home, I heard her walk across the living room."
    It makes me crazy. Something mildly negative (noise) that I had blotted out is now suddenly the focus of my attention.

In your case, there you are, laboring up the stairs. Your less-than-optimal physical condition is a negative in your life. But you're coping--you've blocked out the negativeness of it and are focusing your attention on the good things. It's "background only." Suddenly he's asking, "are you okay?" and BAMMO!--there's that negative, right there where you can't ignore it anymore.

That's demoralizing--it makes that negative thing FAR more powerful than it is on its own, even -before- the "blocking it out" thing.

Plus it derails your train of thought.

Then there's the idea that suddenly he is taking responsibility for whether you're okay--he's suddenly making it his business. You can take care of yourself, and him asking is sort of an implication that you can't. (Be careful how you say this!!) So that's kind of annoying for most competent grownups--we get a big case of the I'll do it myselfs. (I've been known to use that phrase in explaining my reaction sometimes--it seems to work. People get it, and it conveys the touchiness in a way that's actually a bit sympathetic.)

Try to find a way to explain it like that--that when he is trying to be solicitous it's actually sabotaging you. Which is NOT what he expected, and not what he meant to do.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2013, 05:30:03 PM by TootsNYC »