During the on going quarantine it is common for conversations and zoom meetings to begin with the obligatory ‘How are you doing?’ Ashley Fetters challenges us to ask a better question.
If we want to take the extra step to show our loved ones that we’re really asking, though, and not just greeting them as we might have done in normal times, reaching for a question that more explicitly asks after their emotional or psychological well-being might help. “How are you coping?,” for instance, signals that you don’t expect whomever you’re talking with to be doing great, and that you are genuinely curious about how they’re handling things. “What’s been on your mind lately?” suggests openness to a deeper conversation. You might also follow up on a worry or concern they’ve mentioned before, and check in on how they’re feeling about it now.
However you choose to start your conversations during quarantine, perhaps the most important thing is to ask a genuine question that invites a genuine answer. One of the kindest gestures we can extend to others in a time like this is to make clear that they don’t have to pretend they’re fine.