Tobe Brockner

A Better Answer to the Question: "How Are You?"

“Hey man, it’s good to see you again! How are things?” 

I looked into my friend’s expectant eyes and for a brief second, thought about telling him the truth. Instead, I lied.

“Things are going great,” I replied and then to quickly shift the focus from me to him, “How are you getting along these days?”

Things were not going great. My business was on the brink of failure, my employees had begun sabotaging my efforts to turn things around, I was struggling with my health, I was broke…all the things that don’t constitute what we would describe as “going great.” In fact, things were bloody awful. So, why did I lie to my friend? Why did I tell him that I was fine when I was not? Ego? Shame? That masculine need to appear strong and in control?

This friend, who I don’t see often but when I do is genuinely interested in my well-being, deserved a better answer to that question, “How are you?” I too, deserved to give a better answer. The fact is, my friend cares about me. He’s one of the few people I have in my life who really wants what’s best for me. He would help me if I just had the courage to be honest with him. Honest with myself.

I believe it is time to be honest with those around us, who truly want what’s best for us. It is time to let our ego go, be humble and open to new possibilities. To allow our relationships to grow deeper. To be there for one another. To lean on and be leaned on.

Life is hard enough as it is. It’s harder when you go at it alone. And there’s no reason for this either. People love you. They want to help you. Be honest with them and let them help. Both your lives will get better as a result.

If you happen to see me and ask, “How’s it going?” you are going to get a real answer from now on. We both deserve that.


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Tobe Brockner

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