In Sweden, people don’t typically say “how are you?” – well, not the way that we do in Australia. They don’t say it in casual greetings (As in: “hey, how are ya? How’s it going?”)
In the Swedish language, when someone says “hur mÃ¥r du (how are you)?” they mean it. They’re saying, “hey, how are you? Like, really, how are you?”
So, accordingly, people tend to save that question for close friends and family, they save it for conversations where someone can ask the question and mean it.
I have a friend called Linda, she’s my own personal Swede if you will. She was telling me that in Sweden, someone would be taken aback if a complete stranger said, “how are ya?” Simply because, in that language, “how are you?” is an intimate question, too personal for casual conversation. She said that the word “mÃ¥r” relates to wellbeing, it takes the phrase, “how are you” and gives it deeper meaning – “how are you feeling?” “How are you doing?”
Now, if I was just greeting someone in passing, I could say “hej” which means “hello” or “hej hej” which means “hey” – but there’s one phrase that people handle differently; “hur mÃ¥r du?” – “how are you?” – that one holds weight, it means something.
Last year, 3,128 people died from intentional self-harm – in Australia alone. These are people that we knew and loved, beyond statistics. I’m no stranger to the mental health struggle, most of you aren’t either.
Next time we ask someone “how are you?” let’s take the time to mean it, to let them answer and listen as they do.
Hey! If you or someone you know needs help at any time, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 (it’s there 24 hrs a day!) Check out this website also.