“How’s it going?” This question is the least honest answers. But what if it is? How to react if the neighbor told during a chat in the supermarket of your migraine or even the diagnosis of cancer?

“If we in everyday life, ask someone how he is, is actually just a polite formality,” says Christoph Sczygiel, a social worker and lecturer at the Haufe Academy. “We do not expect a long report Disease, but also a phrase for an answer.”

Especially in the USA, this type of communication is widely used. In Germany, millions of people ask every day after. A simple “Good” answer was also common, but not quite as standardized as in the USA, says Karsten Noack, communication trainer from Berlin.

“Many people use this question, in fact, in order to inform, even if it is just to bad last night,” explains Noack. For courtesy Frager, these situations are often overwhelming – especially if no close relationship to the conversation partner.

Who asks, must expect an honest answer

“The least manage to take between the door and the Angel of time and do not want to it maybe even,” has observed, Christoph Sczygiel. Karsten Noack has a clear opinion: “he Who asks should expect to get an honest answer. Anyone who can’t handle it, shouldn’t even have to ask.”

But what to do when a “how you doin'” out of the slips, such as when picking up a child in the daycare, and just do not have time for a detailed discussion of the back pain of a person remains?

“Not part of the circle known to the Person to be narrower, and would like to maybe just let off your frustration, you might try to stay in the phrases, to back some distance to recover,” advises Christoph Sczygiel. A sentence such as “Sometimes life is exhausting” not to be appreciative and at the same time, a Signal to go deeper.

And the neighbor, in the hallway, which told again and again from your depressed mood? When should you take it seriously and engage in it? “Life-experienced people can rely on their Intuition,” says Peter Walsch Burger, Professor of psychology at the Free University of Berlin. Most of the people felt, whether or not a Person was suffering and actually need help.

“Who would like to help, you can ask the Person how you deal with your Problem,” says Walsch Burger. “It’s about to lead a caring, motivated, compassionate, and solution-oriented conversation that allows the Opposite, to develop their own perspectives, without having to raise the moral index finger.”

Compassion, Yes. Very pity, no.

Still challenging, it is often the case when close relatives and friends to inform us about a disease. Even then it is difficult for many to hit the right tone. Health psychologist Sabine Günther has experienced this during their cancer disease. “Pleasantries are out of place,” says the Bambergerin. A “head high” or “You can do it” is rarely helpful.

Such idioms also Peter Walsch Burger advises, in such cases. “You sound so hollow and empty, that they can hurt the person Concerned.” As uncomfortable felt Sabine Günther sentences that began with “You have now”. “On paternalism should be abandoned,” she says. “Sick people are a free people.”

To avoid these errors, should your family and friends, consider how you might instead react. Sabine Günther: “My girlfriend has to eat me cooked, for example, often, when I was in the hospital. This showed me how much she cares. She knew what was in this Moment, really helpful.”

It is important also, to show compassion, but not too strong us to have pity on. “During my illness I was busy to comfort others,” says Günther. With the advice you should be careful. “No Ill expected of a friend’s medical advice. Sometimes it helps to just listen.”