Saturday, January 13, 2018

Blue Monday and the Problem of Speaking for the Sake of It

How are you today?

This week we've had Blue Monday, which is apparently the most depressing day of the year. The 15th January 2018 has won the undesirable accolade for the following reasons:

1. It's a Monday (apparently many people dislike Mondays)
2. It's midway between Christmas and January payday (Think about that post-Christmas debt!)
3. People are suffering from the Christmas blues
4. It's dark, cold and gloomy

Whilst I am doing my ultimate best to not buy into the negativity I do appreciate that for some people this may possibly be a depressing time for them. Furthermore the subject has me thinking about how sincere we are about the words that come out of our mouths. When we call to check on someone or stop for a quick chat, do we really care about the way the other person may be feeling?

"Conversation rituals" is the linguistic term given to words and phrases that have become part and parcel of everyday conversation, but because of the flippant way in which they are used now carry very little sincerity. The busy-ness of life has just taken over the way we relate to each other and so many conversations are had with little pre or post consideration. Fair enough we are not yet completely devoid of all ability to speak to each other but I just feel like we are simply not taking the time to really hear the emotions in each other's voices, or see what messages people's facial expressions may be conveying.

I make the strong assertion because I noticed this last year when I went through a very painful experience. I initially had many caring friends and family rally around me to offer support and sympathy - something I am eternally grateful for. However, in my grief, there were certain comments made which I felt were thrown at me and left for me to grapple with and make sense of.

An example was "Maddy, now is the time to look to the Lord". Yes, I am a self-professed lover of the Lord, however, for me, the sentence seemed to imply that the reason why I was going through my pain was because I hadn't been "looking to the Lord". Also, when the words were simply blurted out without so much as an enquiry about how I was faring, it felt very ingenuine. (Those of us who love to quote the scriptures, let's do well to not make this mistake!)

Another example was when people would ask "how are you?", and I would reply "fine", then they would respond "good". I wondered whether their lacklustre response was down to insensitivity, or simply not taking the time to really consider if I was actually fine. 

Many people who told me to take care of myself, later became offended when I decided to stay indoors reading and writing, rather than attend Christmas parties and other social gatherings. Duh! I was taking care of myself, just like you advised!

I give these example to simply caution whoever may be reading this that when we speak, we should try to avoid going through the so-called "conversational rituals" without paying any thought to our words or the response they may evoke.

You may be thinking "what a pessimistic cow!". Ha! Not at all. I am just expressing my observations on the way our everyday interactions are evolving. 

This is a call to action to you: on this Blue Monday, and throughout the week and as often as you can, please call or text someone you have been thinking of lately to check on them. And when you ask  "how are you?", please listen. Don't just hear!

Today, I am asking you, how are you? Please comment below. 



  1. This is a great post and harsh reality alot of us have played into.I told myself I would be more conscious of this, especially because of work, it is so easy to just ask "How was your day" but really it's just to create the illusion you care than to actually be interested. Definitely will be more conscious of this - really good post

    1. Hi es, many thanks for passing through on the blog. I have also become more aware of this. I actually would like to be more mindful of what I say to others and not just say it for saying it sake.

  2. You've brought up some very good points Madeline! 'Take Care' is one thrown around a LOT - but wouldn't it be lovely if there was a little more thought and feeling behind it? I'll definitely be (even more!) sure to ask questions with meaning behind them when talking to people :)

    1. Hi Gabby I am glad I have provoked some thought. We are all guilty of it - me included! Thanks for reading. xx

  3. I love your post! really got me reading non stopping!
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    Alessa Bernal

  4. This is something I've been thinking about too, thanks for bringing light to the issue!

    Beauty & Colour | Vegan Lifestyle Blog

    1. It really is food for thought isn't it? You are most welcome and thank you for visiting the blog.

  5. So apt. I am one who can take my words seriously, unfortunately most people don't get this. Just the other day, a heavily pregnant-me dropped my daughter off at school and a school parent asked the usual "How are you doing?". I replied, "I'm fine". She says, "seriously, how are you doing?". And I was like, "finally! Someone gets it". With my eyes lit, I told her my ordeal at the doctor's the previous day and she was all ears. Now that's how to communicate. I loved her even more for that. God bless you for this.

    1. Firstly, congrats on your impending bundle of joy. Sorry to hear you had a horrible ordeal at the doctor's. But seriously it is an issue I have been thinking a lot about lately. Well done, for already choosing to do better and all the best. xx


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