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Words I Dread The Most: It Is Not ‘I Love You?’ But ‘How Are You?’

Being the overthinker I am, I analyse every social interaction. I ask the person back, "How about you?'' because I don't want to sound rude.

Literally every acquaintance ever: “Hey, how are you?”

Me: “I’m good, and you?”

Them: “I’m good.”

The extent of a conversation nowadays is limited to these few lines. The things going on in my mind is how I have many feelings suppressed, and now I feel an overwhelming sense of numbness. Or about how I have the relentless need to be the best at everything I do, which robs the happiness I get from doing that activity in the first place. Or about how I always feel tired and end up with brain fog.

But I impulsively say, “Good.”

Being the overthinker I am, I analyse every social interaction. I ask the person back, “How about you?” because I don’t want to sound rude. Then I smile briefly and carry on with my work. I have similar encounters on my phone while chatting with people on WhatsApp. The conversation ends after the awkwardness. Have you had similar experiences?

The most awkward part is when the “How are you? I’m good, how about you? I’m good” chain is over.

But the person who asked me how I was in the first place proceeded to ask me the SAME question again. I feel like burying my face into the sand like an ostrich. Being socially anxious is definitely fun!

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I don’t blame people who ask me the ‘million-dollar question‘. I do it too. Furthermore, I don’t know any other way to start a conversation with someone I barely know. If I started a conversation with my best friend the same way, she would ask what was wrong with me and disown me.

But moving on to the crucial point, I wonder why we have brought up this culture where we mask our feelings and live superficially to please others. Why is it that we don’t stop to listen to how the other person ‘genuinely’ feels? Or when did we stop expressing our emotions due to a default (assumed) reason that the person on the other side isn’t interested?

My answer to this problem is emotional intelligence. It helps us have deep conversations with others and improve relationships.

A Deep dive into emotional intelligence (EQ)

How we react to others and ourselves influences situations at home and work. The ability to recognize and control one’s feelings is emotional intelligence. The capacity to understand and react to the emotions of others is just as important. EQ is a desirable quality that may boost leadership and problem-solving in the workplace.

Experts think training and practice might help one get better at this skill. One can relieve stress by positively managing their emotions. It can be done by understanding emotions and using them. Do you have a high level of emotional intelligence (EQ)? It means you are self-aware, can communicate well, and sympathize with others.

The ability to read settings at work, communicate effectively with coworkers, participate, and solve issues are all skills that people with high EQ will possess, in addition to being able to perform their jobs. While working with individuals or in teams, having a high EQ may be helpful in leadership positions.

The focus on emotional intelligence instead of academic knowledge

Don’t we put our academic learning first? The Indian education system focuses on bookish knowledge or by-hearting instead of preparing a child for real life. From a young age, a child trains being academically superior. Even one or two marks matter. Otherwise, the kid compares to the neighbour’s kid or the class topper throughout his life. We can not learn four years of material in college and expect to use it for the next fifty years.

To parents of young children, EQ might take your kid further in life than IQ. EQ helps control emotions and prevents them from making poor decisions due to angry outbursts. A kid with higher emotional intelligence is more compassionate, more able to pay attention, and more involved in their studies. The objective is to take it slowly and stop disregarding how a child feels.

EQ in a woman’s professional life

According to a study in the professional sphere, women are more empathic than males. The research on social entrepreneurship showed that women function with empathy more than males. Among the women surveyed, 50% said they were more likely to experience empathy at work and let it influence their decision-making.

Another 2019 study found that companies having female CEOs and CFOs saw more stock price profitability when compared to the overall market average. Unfortunately, men outweigh women as CEOs by 19 to 1 and as CFOs by 6.5 to 1.

Women are missing out on opportunities because of the long-standing stereotype that women are less powerful and emotionally stable than males in business or society. Consequently, is it normal to rationalize a lack of female participation in corporate leadership?

Women may improve their leadership abilities to help them advance in their careers. However, institutional change is also required to make room for more women.

But does a false notion that “boys don’t cry” contribute to women’s higher emotional quotients? Is it accurate to say that when it comes to handling emotional issues, men and women have distinct innate abilities? What do you think?

Empathy, according to neuroscientists, is located in the insula, a part of the brain that receives messages from all over our body. The insula reads the pattern created by our brains when we empathize with someone and recognizes the sensation.

Women’s brains tend to stick with the other person’s emotions when unhappy. Men’s brains react differently. They briefly register sentiments before tuning them out in favour of other brain regions that work to address the issue that is causing the disruption.

How to develop emotional intelligence

Identify and label your feelings

What feelings are you experiencing? What feelings often surface in a stressful situation? Can you identify them?

Read some literature

Reading fiction with nuanced characters can increase empathy and increases social awareness. It gives a better understanding of their motives, ideas, and behaviours.

Ask for opinions

Ask your boss, coworkers, friends, or family how they would grade your emotional intelligence to check your self-perception.

Most importantly, the next time someone asks, “How are you?” try to respond honestly and keep an ear open for when others tell you how they actually feel, and you will know who truly cares for you while working on your EQ.

Image source: DavidF via Getty Images, free on CanvaPro

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About the Author

Mirali Borde

Mirali Borde is an aspiring writer trying to make it in this world. read more...

21 Posts | 6,911 Views

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