~L is for Love This Idea~ Or R U OK? DAY


Conversation (Photo credit: Rohit Rath)

I love this idea. The Idea that people care—that when they ask are you okay, they are not just saying “how are you” in that dismissive way that does not really want an answer.

I took this next section from subtlekate.wordpress.com—but I know she would not mind—so give her credit for this:

“R U OK Day is the day set aside to inspire all people of all backgrounds to regularly ask each other ‘Are you ok?’ It’s also the day when instead of replying “fine, sure, doing great,” you take a moment and answer honestly and you have a conversation about how you’re really doing. The foundation aims to prevent isolation by empowering people to support each other through life’s ups and downs.

So let me ask you, R U OK?”

Well, Subtle Kate, thank you for asking. And today, when I ask someone how they are doing, I am going to listen to what they say and not just walk by them quickly leaving them with a fleeting smile and no time to hear their answer.

Sometimes we are not okay, and we need to have a conversation. When people have taken the time to listen to me–I mean really listen, I am left with the feeling that there is compassion in the world, and that I can go on and make a difference myself.

I am sure we have all had people ask us how we are, then not wait for an answer and go into a dissertation about all their problems. I don’t mind listening, but neither do I want to be looked on as only a sounding board. I think that is how we separate our real friends from those who just pose as our friends—those who pause to listen, and those to whom we pause and listen.

Conversation really can make a difference, and as R U OK? DAY states: it “could save a life”.

Published in: on September 13, 2012 at 10:08 am  Comments (59)  
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59 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thank you so much. I’m touched that you would post this. How are you is more of a greeting these days and I know I will often say “fine” because that’s what’s expected. In this rather disconnected world it’s good to know people are still listening. Many many people this year have listened to me when I’ve been down and now that I am feeling good, it’s time for me to listen to them.

  2. How many times is ‘I’m fine’ an adequate answer?! This post reminds us all that we need to actually see the person and their day, not the exterior and go off – beautiful 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

    • you are so right — but I have the feeling that you are the type of person that cares and listens anyway without having to be prompted 🙂

  3. This is a wonderful idea!

    • I knew you would like it – by the way how are you today– how are your wounds from Tina?

  4. It makes so much sense to me that you have done a post about this because you are the caring, listening type. You have been so supportive of me over the last couple of weeks when I have been struggling with my emotions, and I truly appreciate it :). And please know that when I ask you “are you ok?” I will truly listen to the answer as well!

    • I know that about you — going through empty nest with you has been hard and wonderful

      • There is nothing better than knowing that someone understands exactly what you are feeling and going through :).

      • so very true – I did not understand it when older friends went through it – then when I did, I understood that it was very real

  5. I love this idea.. I have found that most people need 2 things, to know they matter and to be heard. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

    • Thank you — and you are so right about people’s needs — when someone listens we feel that we matter

  6. This was a reminder to be a good listener. Sometimes we are so rapt in our own story, we forget to really listen. Thanks Lou, for the nudge towards compassion.

    • I was nudged first, I just passed it along. And you are one of my best listeners and I hope I do the same for you 🙂

  7. LouAnn,
    On my blog post about my father’s suicide, a blogger asked me: How are you today, in the comment sections. And it destabilized me… And then, I appreciated the gesture….

    This is a great idea, my new blogger friend…

    • We are just not used to people stopping and asking us this – what a sensitive blogger friend you have — wish I had been so sensitive–so happy to have made a new blogger friend in you–and may I ask–how R U today? While the deeper gesture on my part is lost, I was truly touched by your post yesterday.

      • LouAnn,
        I’m quite good. I do enjoy that part of the day: coffee, reading posts, reading other bloggers’ comments – (a big fan of Lynne Free Penny Press BTW). So far, so good. And you?

      • Eric – my day is so far so good- have a writers’ group meeting this morning – so that is always a good thing that I look forward to
        I am a fan of Lynne too

  8. I love this LouAnn.
    You did this for me when I had my surgery and I will never forget it.
    You really listened and because of you I will pay it forward. Thanks for posting this.

    • So glad you feel this way – though it is easy to listen to you, good friend–I did not have to try!
      You are a pay it forward kind of girl anyway!

  9. Great idea, Lou Ann! I’ve been under the weather lately (although you didn’t ask) but are you okay? :).

    • I am sorry you are not feeling well- I had a nasty bug at the beginning of the week but am good now
      Just got home from a writers’ group meeting and so I am inspired.
      Take care of yourself –(hugs)

  10. This is a good idea – and what I spend most of my day at work doing – talking to clients on the phone and finding out how they are doing. Sometimes all they want is to let someone know, and they are happy after that (well, especially if we are able to provide them with a little help with their problem).

    I am actually quite well today and looking forward to a quiet evening at home with the two girls – the husband will be away at some hoity toity fundraising dinner. And you?

    • Just came home from a writers’ group meeting so I am inspired.
      Hope you get your quiet evening at home.
      Are you a social worker?

  11. Dear onthehomefrontandbeyond,

    I feel so glad to share this award with you as I so love your blog.

    ‘One Lovely Award for One Lovely Blog’

    Please pick it up from my blog –

    -Asha Seth 🙂

    • I am honoured Asha–you are very deserving of this–and thanks for sharing the wealth

      • My Pleasure 🙂

  12. You and Kate are so right.No-one but your best mates really expects a proper answer when they ask how you are. I like the idea of the special day. All the best to you and your readers. I hope you are all okay. 🙂

    • And I hope you are okay too – thanks for your concern. I, for one, am going to try to become a better listener

  13. I so wish more people would remember this concept and apply it in real life! In general, I don’t ask people if they’re okay unless I really mean it. Why else would I ask, right? Great, great lesson here. As always, I’m glad to see people like you thinking about others besides themselves. 🙂

    • it is a good sign to think outside of ourselves isn’t it? thanks for your thoughtful comment–but I am not at all surprised that you are a “listener”

  14. I hate that question “how are you” because most people answer fine and leave it there rather than answering you honestly. People are conditioned that this is just nicety and don’t really want the truth. When I know someone does need to unload and talk I will tell them in response that I mean “I really want to know” so they know it’s not just a nicety gesture and that I am interested.

    • it is too bad that people think we really do not care and have to be a little more insistent when we ask how they are–but I am so glad you do it — what a lovely way to show people you care–but that does not surprise me about you

  15. This issue has always been a pet peeve for me…I think people think that others are just being polite and so they say ‘okay’…If someone says that to me I say to them …”Are you really okay?” and hopefully that is a clue that I really mean it!….Diane

    • that is very nice and a way to let people know you are not just passing the time of day

  16. When people ask how I am doing, I don’t believe they are really interested in a truthful reply. I don’t believe they really want to take the time to listen. So I won’t normally say anything other than fine and leave it at that. On the other hand, when I ask that question of someone, I truly would like for them to answer it truthfully and not blow it off. It maybe weird, but that’s the way I feel.

    • I am the same way — like we are not worthy enough for people to listen to us, even though we find others more than worthy–you and I have to change that

  17. It’s so important to take the time to listen. . .

  18. Whenever I’m asked that question I always say “yeah, I’m good thanks” even when I’m not lol 😉


    • me too, cause we think people do not really want to know when we are hurting inside

      • I went through a bad patch a few years ago and someone I hadn’t spoken to for a whole rang me up. I had to tell him over the phone all what had been going on and when I’d finished, he said, so why are you laughing?

        Unfortunately, I tend to do that, because I cope with it better 🙂


      • laughing through our tears
        the only thing that really helps me is time and perspective – two things that sound easy but are not

      • Too true honey too true 🙂


      • 😉

  19. Wonderful points LouAnn! When a friend has a spouse that dies, I like to call them … maybe 3 weeks later … then a month later. Just to see if how they are doing and to see if they feel like talking.

    • that is wonderful because everybody is at their side in the beginning then they get abandoned — your plan is so much better

      • … and always say, “Tell me if you need anything.” … Call them! … give them space … call them again!

      • you are so right – they never ever call –you have to keep calling them – Frank I am glad you mentioned this–I am going to be a better friend because of it

      • Think I wrote about this .. will look.

  20. A great post Lou Ann! Thank you for sharing the thought. Have a wonderful weekend 🙂

  21. I absolutely love this idea! Thank you so much for passing it along to us all!

  22. are you okay allows you to say, no but i will be and sometimes just the asking makes you okay

    • that is so true – that someone would ask makes you feel better doesn’t it

  23. Good post. You’re right there are some people that sort of just ask this as the norm and don’t really care if there is an answer that follows. Sometimes you do need that conversation and sometimes you just don’t want anything at all. But at least someone asks, right?

    • We always feel cared for when asked sincerely, and we have the choice of furthering the conversation or not

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