Author Topic: "Are you okay?"  (Read 9098 times)

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TootsNYC

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Re: "Are you okay?"
« Reply #45 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 »

TootsNYC

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Re: "Are you okay?"
« Reply #46 on: September 15, 2013, 05:14:30 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

I wanted to say--

with my chronic cough, I went to the doctor when my coworkers finally said to me, "This isn't right--have you seen a doctor for that cough?"

By now, I know that I've done everything I can do (almost); there's no easy answer, and I don't have emphysema/lung cancer/whatever. But that experience--having someone pressure me about my health--makes me more sympathetic to people like my coworker and snowdragon.

Be sure that's not what he's doing--and that you *are* taking care of yourself.

Catananche

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Re: "Are you okay?"
« Reply #47 on: September 16, 2013, 08:15:43 AM »
I agree with people who tell you to ask him why he's asking it so much. He could be asking it for several reasons:
-he's genuinely concerned
-your sighs/oofs are driving him around the bend
-he wants to adjust his driving speed to prevent causing you more pain
-he wants to adjust his speed on the stairs/he wants your permission to go on ahead/he wants to know if you want him to slow down so you can keep up
-he's slipped into an annoying habit and doesn't know he's asking it so much
-another reason I haven't thought of

Add me to the list of people who sought medical advice after mentioning certain symptoms and not connecting the dots. I'm lactose intolerant and cutting dairy from my diet has improved my life a lot.

spookycatlady

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Re: "Are you okay?"
« Reply #48 on: September 16, 2013, 09:02:14 AM »
As previous posters have said, you can't reasonably expect to change him. You can only change your behaviour.  You can have a frank discussion about this annoyance, which can result in something productive, or him being defensive.  You can let it fester and eventually snap at him.  You can respond with annoyance every time, which will most likely cause hurt feelings for him.  You can change your being into someone who can bolt up the stairs two at a time and lets out a "Yippeeki-A" at every speedbump, which doesn't seem particularly reasonable...

I bump into things a lot and I chatter to myself a lot.  My husband "areyouokay-ed" me constantly (5-20 times a day) because of this. So annoying!.  On the verge of snapping at him, I gave him a translation of what the various noises are:

Loud thump, no follow up cursing = I'm really hurt and come find me.
Loud or quiet thump or bang with follow up cursing or ouchies = I'm fine.
Low whispering, murmering, muttering, sighing, or grunting under my breath = If there's no way a reasonable person could expect to understand what I'm saying, you're not the intended audience, so mind your business.  I'm talking to myself.  I love you.

As for things like the stairs, I've done the same thing as your friend.  From my end, I can say that "are you okay?" means "am I going to fast? Would you like me to slow down?"  So, it's less of me thinking my friend is too slow, but more like my own pace may be inconsiderate and causing someone discomfort.

bopper

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Re: "Are you okay?"
« Reply #49 on: September 16, 2013, 09:09:32 AM »
There could be two causes:

1) You are more verbal than you know.  I know people who sort of talk to themselves or express themselves verbally when something bothers them (like on the news, or physically).  People tend to think that if you are saying something/making a noise that you are expecting a response. 

2) He is excessively making sure you are okay.

Probably it is a combination of both. So first figure how much you verbally express that you are having issues.  But you might want to tell him that you often "ooof" and "argh" and that he can ignore those.

It's like I do when I sneeze...people often say "Bless you" after the first sneeze...For people I am around often I tell them am a three sneezer so they can just wait until the end.  Sort of manage expectations so nobody is annoyed.

JoyinVirginia

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Re: "Are you okay?"
« Reply #50 on: September 17, 2013, 01:18:41 AM »
Friend: are you ok?
 OP: no I am so annoyed with that question I might start screaming the next time I hear it. Are YOU ok?

Amanita

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Re: "Are you okay?"
« Reply #51 on: September 17, 2013, 02:51:47 AM »
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.

I've said it already- I don't do it all the time.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2013, 03:03:48 AM by Amanita »

jilly

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Re: "Are you okay?"
« Reply #52 on: September 17, 2013, 03:11:01 AM »
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.

I've said it already- I don't do it all the time!

Even if you don't do it all the time if someone makes a noise going over a speed bump I'm going to ask if they are OK because in my experience the only reason for someone to do that is if it hurt them. If they then say they are fine I'm going to assume it's a dig at my driving too fast (in their opinion) over them. Even if its not all the time, in fact probably it's probably worse if it's not all the time. All the time might become the noise Amanita makes for speed bumps and can therefore be safely ignored.

Maybe again get in there first if you are having a bad day with your neck and going into the speed bump area just mention that you hate the things on days like today when your neck is acting up, tell him you may make some noises but to please ignore them. After you have said the entire speech a couple of trips you can probably switch to something more like today is a bad day for speed bumps.

For me when I know what the problem is and how you would like me to handle it I then won't need to ask if you are OK. I can then begin to apply this info to similar situations.

iridaceae

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Re: "Are you okay?"
« Reply #53 on: September 17, 2013, 05:13:44 AM »
If he's a good friend I don't understand why you're not just outright saying "dude,  let's have a talk about why you're always asking me if I'm okay".  Or why you haven't said things like "just going at my own pace; see you up top."

ladyknight1

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Re: "Are you okay?"
« Reply #54 on: September 17, 2013, 10:55:01 AM »
My mother asks the title question at least 3 times per phone call.

I have greatly reduced the number of calls I place to her.

Yvaine

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Re: "Are you okay?"
« Reply #55 on: September 17, 2013, 11:04:28 AM »
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.

This may be too. I know a guy who is really bothered anytime a passenger makes a noise as he drives over a pothole/speed bump/etc. His expectations of himself are that he should be able to completely cancel out the bump with his driving skillz, and if someone oofs he takes it as a criticism of his driving rather than of the road.

ladyknight1

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Re: "Are you okay?"
« Reply #56 on: September 17, 2013, 11:53:15 AM »
OP, my DH gets concerned that things may be too much for me, as I have various physical ailments but still try to enjoy life, so we just make eye contact and if I need assistance, he knows I will tell him.

I suggest you try to get your friend to understand that if you need assistance you will tell him.

gellchom

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Re: "Are you okay?"
« Reply #57 on: September 17, 2013, 01:42:49 PM »
I'd be a little annoyed in either position, too.

It's a matter of subtext, I think. 

When someone says "Ouch," "oof," "oy," etc. or sighs or grimaces, we either get the feeling that

1) something is wrong, and they might not be okay

or

2) they need a lot of attention/are being critical of your driving/are a SS that is behaving as if the bump/cold/rain/whatever is somehow affecting oh-so-sensitive them more than everyone else.

And when someone says, "Are you okay?" we either get the feeling that

1) they are genuinely concerned

or

2) they are commenting on our being annoying, in one of the above ways, with all the "oofs" and sighs.

Which feeling we get in either position depends on gut feelings and context. 

When my mother-in-law makes "oofs" and my husband sighs, I ask "What's wrong?" even when I am pretty sure it's just for the attention, which is indeed annoying, but I have learned it's no big deal just to humor them.  I think it's a PA way to communicate, but at a very minor level that is easier just to live with than to challenge.   

TootsNYC

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Re: "Are you okay?"
« Reply #58 on: September 17, 2013, 03:08:59 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.

I've said it already- I don't do it all the time.

You do it often enough that *you* are annoyed by his response. So that's often enough for *him* to be annoyed at your grunting (if indeed he is--he might not be; he might just think he should be solicitous, since you're clearly uncomfortable).

It goes both ways.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2013, 10:07:34 AM by TootsNYC »

baglady

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Re: "Are you okay?"
« Reply #59 on: September 17, 2013, 10:33:06 PM »
I admit I'm guilty of this, especially with a couple of friends who have mobility/pain issues. When I ask "Are you OK?" I usually mean "Do you need help?" or, if I think the discomfort might be my fault (e.g., I took a speed bump too fast) "I'm sorry, did I hurt you?"

Reading this thread has me thinking my "Are you OK"-ing is probably unnecessary. Neither of them are shy about *asking* for help if they need it.
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