“You doing okay?”

How many times do we hear that?

How many times do we ask that?

The only time that question is appropriate is in the service industry. Your wait staff at your favorite restaurant can ask that. The flight attendant on a long flight (no longer a domestic one) can ask that. The hotel concierge can ask that. But you, as a partner and a parent, cannot.

Why?

Because your relationship should be deeper than basic survival. We want – and need – more than okay.

“Phew.” My partner/child is okay. No need to put more energy here. They are surviving fine without me having to work and put more energy into them. This attitude will not cut it for long-term, satisfying relationships. If someone is okay, surviving fine – that is not a free pass to attend to something else.

Rather, the better questions are – How are you? How are you doing? How are you feeling? Then shut up. Create the space for them to truly answer vs. the socially mandated “fine.” Give them the message that you want to know all the colors in their box. All the feels. Why? Because you are interested in them and your relationship with them.

The hotel staff and the airline crew do not really care how you are doing or about your emotional bond. They just want to keep customers satisfied enough as to sustain their paycheck. Thus, “you doing okay?” is perfectly acceptable.

But, if I am interested in a long-term, emotionally growing relationship with someone important in my life, best to open that can of worms all the way. Ask the full-throttle question. Then, sit back and enjoy the ride of your life. That of an emotionally engaged, full-range, direct contact relationship.

That’s how we do it.

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