Sometimes it’s Not “All Good”

Illustrated hand holding a wilted flower.

Have you ever had the experience of having a colleague or friend confide something disquieting to you— someone they love has an illness; they got into a kerfuffle with a co-worker; they are breaking off a relationship—and, immediately after confiding in you announce,

“Oh, but it’s all good.”

Um….No, it’s not. 

Sometimes it’s not because it’s really not—illness, separation, divorce are rarely ‘all good’—and sometimes it’s not because if it were they wouldn’t be talking about it. 

Like “My bad”, “It’s all good” is a verbal tic that I do not find ‘all good.’

But, my aural sensitivities aside, I don’t think it serves you (and, when I’ve fallen back on the phrase, I know it hasn’t served me) to pretend things are “all good.” I think it forces us into a fake jollity that, while it might make things more comfortable for others in the moment, forces us to stuff down what we’re really feeling.

Things that are stuffed down have a tendency to come back up.

So what phrases would I recommend instead? Here are a few I’ve found tried and true:

When things truly cannot be described as “all good” (as noted above: illness, death, separation, divorce….) I rely on:

  • “Things are hard right now, but the situation ebbs and flows. Some days are easier than others.”

Or, the very simple:

  • “Thank you for your concern. I appreciate it.”

In situations that aren’t as dire, I often say:

  • “I know I’ve lost my sense of perspective. When I’ve had time to consider, I hope to have a better sense of what’s happened/next steps.”

Or, the very simple:

  • “Thank you for listening. It’s helped to talk the situation through.”

Speaking of which, thank you all for reading. It’s helped to write the situation through.