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Why do some people seem to need you to confirm you are "ok"

(18 Posts)
ButareyouOK Fri 22-May-20 17:29:55

Aibu to not understand what they mean?

To me a conversation about being ok goes like this -

How are you? Are you ok?
Not great to be honest because bla bla bla happened/might happen
Oh no, how are you feeling about it? Can I do anything? Take care etc

But some people it seems to go -

How are you? Are you ok?
Not great to be honest because bla bla bla happened/might happen
Oh. That's not good. But are you ok though?
Well not really, struggling a lot just now. Going to try and have an early night.
Right but are you ok? I need to check you're ok. I'll phone tomorrow to check you are ok.

What do they mean? Some people do this to everyone. Absolutely not a risk of suicide type situation. I genuinely don't understand, do they want people to just say yes I'm ok. Just so they feel better and can say "Well Denise has had her car stolen and her foot is infected and her dog died but she is ok"

Saying "ok" doesn't change anything that happened. I am genuinely asking because a few people I know do it and it's starting to wind me up. But I am totally prepared to admit iabu if some "ok checkers" can explain to me what answer they want and why they want it?

thepeopleversuswork Fri 22-May-20 17:33:49

I think there are some people who are quite empathetic and want to help people. It's usually well meant. Often people want to help and don't really know how to go about it.

Yes it can sometimes tip over into being a bit annoying but on balance I'd rather have friends who create an environment where its safe to talk about stuff than friends who don't give a shit.

ButareyouOK Fri 22-May-20 17:35:53

Yes that's true.

Wagamamas Sat 23-May-20 07:48:25

I know someone like that. I think with them it's a habit but, it reminds me that most things are trivial really and that everything at the end is insignificant if we are alive and ok. Its also positive to smile and say you are ok, it helps calming down and puting things in perspective.

SnuggyBuggy Sat 23-May-20 07:54:50

It's for their own reassurance I think. I've had to tell more than one person that they aren't helping me repeatedly by asking if I'm OK when we both know I'm not.

I think some people are very solution focused and insist on trying to solve things for you even if they don't have any good ideas. The worst is when they then blame you for not following their (crap) advice

ItStartedWithAKiss241 Sat 23-May-20 07:55:07

I guess maybe they are asking if you are mentally coping or do you need to talk/rant to them?
Also do you need anything from the supermarket/help with childcare etc/medicine picked up? X

PorridgeStoat Sat 23-May-20 07:57:30

do they want people to just say yes I'm ok. Just so they feel better and can say "Well Denise has had her car stolen and her foot is infected and her dog died but she is ok

Yes - this.

It's hard enough sometimes to say "I'm not ok" but these people make it virtually impossible!

Itoldyouiwasill Sat 23-May-20 07:57:47

I think that people like this want reassurance that they aren't obliged to 'do' anything. Hence the constant asking you to confirm that there's nothing that's needed from them actually as they've assured themselves you are 'ok'
IMO it's being the opposite of empathic and quite self absorbed

pleasenomorechocolates Sat 23-May-20 08:00:36

My DB tried to kill himself when I was a teenager. We were completely inseparable and for years it gave me an extreme fear that someone else would tell that me they were upset and then they’d try to do the same and it’d be my fault. I appreciate not all ‘are you okayers’ will have a reason like this! But for a long time I was obsessed with making sure that people wouldn’t physically hurt themselves.

Luckily I have made a lot of progress since then as I appreciate how bloody annoying and ultimately unhelpful it is!

AuntieStella Sat 23-May-20 08:01:13

It's because they don't really 'get' what you're saying. They need you to,answer the question they have actually asked, by starting your answers with "no, not at the moment' and then add what you said about why. OK, in your example they should have picked it up from the 'not great', and the example you cite is overly dogged about the precise word 'OK'

If the enquirer is someone you value, accept this as a foible (it often stems from the insecurity of feeling that no-one is really listening to you). Because they're not asking what shit things have happened recently, but how you are; and they aren't hearing it from your answer (that may it may not be reasonable of them)

If it's someone you are less bothered about, then try to avoid them exceptnwhen you are feeling robust.

If you find an increasing number of people are doing it, do remember (and I mean this kindly) that the common factor is you. There is always the possibility that what you think in your head you are saying clearly is coming out from your lips rather differently.

(Or of course you could be unlucky and have a disproportionate number of arses in your immediate circle)

Nottherealslimshady Sat 23-May-20 08:02:00

Because you can be a bit down because of a bad situations, stressed or upset but then you can also be having a mental health crisis and be really not ok.
The situations where I hear this kind of conversation is where one person has history of mental health issues and the other wants to make sure that even though you're a little down that you're handling it ok. It's easier than saying "how is your mental health because of all that"

saraclara Sat 23-May-20 08:05:06

If you expect everyone to be capable of dealing with your difficult stuff, you're expecting way too much. We're none of us perfect, and if you've got people around you who care enough to ask and to even want to check in you later, then you're already damn lucky.

It can be hard to even ask someone if they're okay, when you know they're having problems, if you don't have great Inter personal skills.

Bluesheep8 Sat 23-May-20 08:06:31

I find that most people use it as a greeting. "Hi, are you Ok?" They don't really want to know, or genuinely care. I just respond with "i'm ok thanks, how are you?" Even when I'm far from ok.

FlowerArranger Sat 23-May-20 08:18:56

Most people, when asking you how you are, don't actually expect you to tell them! Certainly they don't want to hear any negativity or anything that could be seen as moaning. They are repeatedly asking whether you are okay because they do not want to get into a discussion of your problems, and the last thing they want to do is help. Sadly, the best you can do is make a mental assessment of someone's likely emotional empathy before you open up about what troubles you. Otherwise you are likely to be disappointed.

SandysMam Sat 23-May-20 08:33:48

I have a friend who is only ever satisfied if things with me are not ok! In fact, if I tell her things are good, she reminds me of all the terrible things in my life and the guise of checking i’m Ok with them. It’s emotionally draining and I tend to avoid her now. Yes I have problems, but also lots of good shit going on which she doesn’t want to hear about!!

yousexybugger Sat 23-May-20 08:58:11

I understand entirely. I quite recently had what I would informally call a mental breakdown due to some meds and was seriously unwell for a long time.

My mum is a good person but didn't seem to get that I was really not doing well.

She would say she wanted to know how I was doing (I promise I didn't go on about it) but would try and end each call with 'as long as you're ok'; 'to be honest, I'm not at the moment'; 'but at least you're ok' 'I'm actually not'; 'as long as you're ok, well not ok but...'

I suppose there wasn't a lot that she could do and actually meant 'physically ok for now'. In this sense the definition of ok is 'not in immediate danger' rather than actually 'doing well'.

IrenetheQuaint Sat 23-May-20 09:01:04

These people want reassurance for their own sake, not yours - it is really annoying.

ememem84 Sat 23-May-20 09:15:24

Ddad constantly asks if we’re ok. But it’s almost as though he doesn’t care about the answer.

I’ve once told him that no I’m not and was told to buck up. And smile.

I was really struggling with pnd. Slack of sleep and had toddler ds and baby Dd on my own. Ds wasn’t well. So no. I wasn’t ok.

But buck up. That’s all.

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