Here are some examples of questions that can be annoying/exhausting/pressurised to answer:
- ‘How are you feeling?’ Because you may not even know.
- ‘Are you okay?’ This is usually only asked when you are not okay and always sounds rather passive aggressive.
- ‘Is work going well?’ Which is rather like, ‘How’s your love life?’
- ‘Tell me everything.’ Not a question – a demand. And lazy. Unless it regards a new romance, in which case… go.
Better perhaps to ask the less testing and more playful, ‘How’s morale?’ Because it is so gently open-ended. So take-it-or-leave-it. A bit quaint and not too worthy. And the implication is that the question only needs answering if you can be bothered. And that, actually, even pulling a face will do.
‘How’s morale?’ is a taking of emotional temperature rather than probing for detail. Because if you feel rubbish, you may not want to go there. You could be confused and will end up answering a more diggy inquiry with a lie because you just don’t know. Or you may be percolating, marinading, allowing things to settle and all you know is that morale is in tatters but you’re not sure why. Unclear as to the trigger. Fed up and tired but grateful to be able to acknowledge that all is a bit twisted.
‘How’s morale?’ is a step on the way to a proper conversation. The kind of conversation that takes time and sometimes bravery. It’s just a little checking-in. Not ambulance chasing. Not nosiness. Not head-tilting concern. Just, ‘I’m here in the world. And I recognise that you are too.’