It's not always good to talk

Darren Ellis and John Cromby on the health implications of emotional expression.
HOW many times have you been asked ‘How are you?’ and, regardless of how you were actually feeling, replied with a simple ‘Fine’? Or asked someone ‘Are you OK?’, and nodded whilst asking in order to encourage a positive reply? Much of the time the literal meaning of such questions is submerged in the rituals of greeting, and so a failure to address their literal content is not treated as a breach of expectations (Antaki & Widdicombe, 1998). But, unremarkable as it may seem, is this habit also a sign of our culture’s lack of concern for emotional matters?

BPS Members can discuss this article

Already a member? Or Create an account

Not a member? Find out about becoming a member or subscriber