You're Not Fine


Sometimes when I ask clients how they're feeling I'll get this answer: "Fine". I usually try to point out that this doesn't tell me much.

There are so many other possible alternative answers to 'I'm fine."  Even this relatively short list of feeling words contain dozens of choices -- and "fine" is not one of them!

Describing something and evaluating it are different tasks. Here's an example: if I tell you that I just painted my walls a nice color, this is not enough information for you to match it at the paint store -- you only know my evaluation of it. But if I specifically describe the color to you then I am giving you a chance to know exactly what I mean.

Try to expand your feeling words to be as descriptive as you can about your current emotions. Otherwise, if you say "fine" you may run into someone who will point out that this can stand for:

  • F - Fearful
  • I - Insecure
  • N - Neurotic
  • E - Emotional

And you can do better than that!


Bill Herring is a psychotherapist in private practice in Atlanta.  He specializes in individual and couples counseling and is especially noted for his work with repeated affairs and other sexual infidelities.

Filed under: