Shake Things Up: The Problem with Frivolity

By Mark Vickers, Ph.D. defines frivolous as “self-indulgently carefree; unconcerned about or lacking any serious purpose.” That is what has happened to most conversations today. They are frivolous. Even our cultural niceties such as “how are you?” seem to lack the sincerity they once did.

So, why not shake things up a little and be contrary to these cultural norms? When someone asks you how you are, tell them the truth. If you are great, tell them. If life is challenging, tell them that too. Be polite about how you respond and wait for their reaction. They won’t know what hit them.

Why be contrary? Because we have become “self-indulgently carefree.” We care more about ourselves than others, and this selfish tendency is reflected in our conversations. So when you give answers such as “thanks for asking, actually work has been really stressful and I’m struggling,” to that cultural nicety, it sparks a little reality. That person is forced to have, at least for a moment, an indulgence into your life. And with that, perhaps some empathy too.


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