Want to talk about it?
I’ve come to discover that, in life, for every situation that you may find yourself in, there are basically two ways to handle it - the right way... and the wrong way.
Take the other day for example. It was one of those days where absolutely everything seemed to go wrong from the minute I opened my eyes in the morning till the second I eventually fell asleep at night. The only consolation of my eventual demise will be the fact that I’ll never have to deal with days like that again.
I won’t go into the nasty details, but by six o’clock I was stomping around with a look of black thunder on my face and killer daggers shooting out of my eyes at every innocent passerby – man, woman or child - who had the audacity to be in the same hundred-mile radius as me. And then, at exactly four minutes past six, somebody made the huge mistake of asking me how I was feeling.
What they actually said was - "What the hell is your problem?"
This is the wrong way.
All the pent-up frustration of the day came bursting forth onto the shoulders of this one person. My reply cannot be printed here without severely offending anyone of a delicate disposition. Suffice to say that it lasted twenty-three minutes, contained more body parts than Grey’s Anatomy (the book and the TV series), and tackled the issue of the person in question’s family tree all the way back to Adam and Eve. And 95% of what I actually said was physically, scientifically or chronologically impossible.
This, you may have gathered, is also the wrong way.
Here, then, is the right way...
Asking about Feelings
- Are you (feeling) alright / angry / upset / pleased / OK...?
- Is everything alright?
- What’s wrong?
- What’s the matter?
- Do you want to talk about it?
- Well, it’s been a ________ day.
- Actually,... / The thing is...
- To be honest... I feel / ‘ve been in a good / bad / etc mood all day...
- I’m sad / angry / glad about...
- Thanks for asking, but I really don’t want to talk about it right now...
And just one last thing... if the person you’re about to approach has red eyes and is breathing fire while chewing on broken glass, it is safe to assume that, no, they don’t want to talk about it. In the name of self-preservation, wait till a later date to ‘be there’.
Right... now I’m off to write a letter of apology...