What to say when they ask “Are you okay?” when you’re not

Handling conversations about our well-being can be daunting, especially when we’re not feeling our best. When someone asks Are you okay? and you’re not, it can be tempting to brush off the question or give a dismissive response. However, this can lead to feelings of guilt, anxiety, and even avoidance of future conversations. So, how do you respond when the truth is, you’re really not okay?

The thing is, people ask Are you okay? for a reason. They may have noticed changes in your behavior, mood, or energy levels. They might be concerned about you or genuinely care about your well-being. Whatever the reason, it’s essential to respond in a way that acknowledges their concern while also being honest about your emotional state.

Here are some strategies and example responses to help you navigate these conversations:

Acknowledge their concern

Thanks for asking, I appreciate your concern.

I know you’re coming from a good place, and I appreciate that.

Be honest (but brief)

To be honest, I’m struggling a bit right now, but I’m working on it.

I’m not doing great, to be honest, but I’m trying to get through it.

Change the subject (temporarily)

You know, I’m not doing great, but how about you? How’s your day been?

Can we talk about something else? I need a distraction from my own thoughts.

Set boundaries

I appreciate your concern, but I’m not really ready to talk about it right now.

I’m not feeling up to discussing it, but thanks for asking.

Seek support

Actually, I’m not doing great. Would you be willing to listen to me vent about it?

Do you have time to grab coffee and talk about what’s going on? I could really use someone to talk to.

Offer a solution

Thanks for asking. I think I just need some time to myself to recharge.

I’m going to try to get some more sleep/exercise/meditation. That usually helps me feel better.

Practice self-care

You know, I’ve been going through a tough time, but I’m trying to focus on self-care right now.

I’m trying to prioritize my own well-being, so I can get back on track.

Remember, responding to Are you okay? doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing situation. You can choose to share as much or as little as you’re comfortable with, while still acknowledging the person’s concern.

In conclusion, handling conversations about our well-being requires empathy, honesty, and a willingness to set boundaries. By responding thoughtfully and authentically, we can build stronger relationships, foster deeper connections, and prioritize our own mental health. So, the next time someone asks Are you okay? take a deep breath, choose your response wisely, and remember that it’s okay not to be okay.

Be kind ❤

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