I hate to admit that I've blown people off because I didn't feel like getting involved. There have been days where I've noticed someone was sad or upset and I just offered a casual, "You okay?" without really expecting an honest answer. And they responded with the socially acceptable, and often expected, "Doing good," even if they're not. Often times a follow up question of "Are you sure?" is met with the reply "I'm fine, just tired." Those are answers I'm totally okay with. Most people are, I think. After all, it's a rather scripted conversation:
"Hi, how are you?"
*insert smiley faces...*
It occurs every day in my life at least twice, be it me asking or someone asking me. But do I even really care? I'd like to say that I do, but sometimes...it just pops out of my mouth before I even think about what might happen if the other person deviates from the script. Does the other person care how I'm doing? Maybe he/she is thinking the same things that I am.
Or are we just conforming to an expectation that doesn't really mean much anymore because it is so prominent -- so expected?
Realizing how frequently I blow people off is a little surprising. What's not surprising is that I didn't start thinking about it until I noticed how often I'm blown off by the people who I believe should be the most interested in my life. And then I get to thinking...how many times do I blow off those people who should be the most important to me?
That's not a good thing. I'm especially feeling it now, that it isn't a good thing. Blowing people off or accepting the generic, almost automated "I'm fine" response isn't always what is needed. Yes, we're all busy. I'm busier than I've been in a long time. However, that doesn't mean I should use my crazy schedule as an excuse. Homework is important, work is important, church is important, a lot of things are important. It is PEOPLE, though, who are the MOST important.
Perhaps it doesn't need to be a long, lengthy, soul-bearing conversation. Maybe all somebody needs is a big hug, or a short note, or a question posed in a way that shows the sincerity behind the asker's query. Maybe the answer will still be "I'm fine, just tired," but at least the person knows that somebody is interested. The person will know that if ever the answer becomes deeper than the expected, it's okay. Somebody out there will put aside his or her own cares and listen for a few minutes. Because sometimes all you need is someone to listen.