Depressionista Depressionista: Comic Strip Conversations! Melissa Stephens

Illustrated by the amazingly talented Mitch Loidolt

Here are examples of how the timing of the simple question “How are you?” can seriously affect your life.  Most people say, “How are you?” before I can even register if I know what their name is.  I then feel pressure to answer as quickly and aggressively as possible followed by several minutes of self-hate.  Recently someone asked me “How are you?” after I had been hanging out with them for quite some time. We had already gotten the mindless banter out there; it struck me, and I stopped for a second.  I decided to give a real answer.  Then I genuinely asked it back.  I wondered to myself, why was this better?  Why did it feel more sincere?  It just did.  I find mindless banter, like movies, hatred of laundry, traffic, food and trips you’ve seen them take via Facebook is a much better way to enter a conversation than a generalized question as “How are you?” right out of the gate.  Because here is the flip side. I have had people right away go, “Not great, I was just broken up with, and my mom has cancer.”  Bummer, guys.  Not that I don’t want to be there for you but again, in the first five seconds, this is not appropriate.  Wait for us to figure out which leg we are going to lean on, if I need my glasses, if I like you, things need to be assessed before any real information starts flowing from anyone’s lips.

The last comic strip is how I feel in general when I see random people I know on the street and they feel the need to yell “How are you?” as if this is a real opportunity for me to fill you in.  Will there ever be a time where we can just pass each other on the street with a nod and not a freak out?  Do we need to acknowledge every person we have ever met?  Smile and nod/ the future.  For me, anyways.  I am saving all that energy for real situations like job interviews, breakups, dates, birthday parties, everything in between November and January 2nd  (HOLIDAYS!) and my mirror.

Silly Rabbit, Trix are for MEEEEEEEE!!!!!

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  1. That’s how I feel. I never ask anyone how they are right away. I just say hi, smile and nod if I’m on my way somewhere. If I do stop to chat I keep it light; movies, music, weather. It’s the best way to go, leaves everyone outs.

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