I have friends and family who live alone. Last week was particularly difficult for many of them as they battled next level loneliness and a sense of loss during a time when families often gather.
I checked in with one of my friends last week to see how she was doing. We are not super close, but she was on my mind, and I wanted her to know that I was thinking about her.
I reached out to ask how she was doing via a text message. She didn’t miss a beat and responded in a witty, humorous way that made me giggle.
Then, I got to thinking, You know, she didn’t really answer the question. Should I ask again?
Asking a second time felt a bit risky. Like I mentioned, we aren’t overly close friends. Would asking a second time seem pushy? Would it seem over the top? Would it seem like I was being intrustive, overstepping, prying in some way?
I decided to go ahead and ask again. All of those worries were about how I would be perceived when I was truly focused on her and her wellbeing. So asked.
I waited a couple of hours.
I then included an apology, stating that my inquiry may have been intrusive. Because let’s be real, after two hours of no response, I was back to thinking about me and her perception of my message, haha!
Then, she replied.
She was experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 and would not be able to spend time with her family over the long weekend. She was worried, sad, disappointed.
She was thankful that I asked.
I wonder how many people in our lives and in our schools need someone to care enough to ask a second time, “How are you right now?”
I’ve heard it said that instead of asking how people are doing we should ask easier to answer questions such as, “Have you had any water today?” I do love that. Yes, AND I also think, when our gut tells us to ask how someone is doing, we should ask. And if they don’t answer, we should care enough to ask a second time.
Perhaps, they don’t know how they are doing. Perhaps, they don’t want to talk about it. Perhaps they will think that we are being nosy.
But what if someone really needs us to ask? What if someone needs us to ask a second time?
I would rather be criticized for caring too much and for being brave with my heart than for caring too little.
It’s cool to care. And if it’s not, I never was very good at being “cool” anyway.