Saying 'I'm Fine' When You're Not Is The Worst Relationship Lie You Can Tell

by Katie Mellinger

I won't lie: I drop the "F-bomb" every once in a while.

But it's not the one you're thinking of. I'm talking about the word “fine.”

Why is the word “fine” so awful, you might wonder? Well, this measly adjective is more than just that.

When that word is used in tangent with the contraction “I'm,” you enter a new realm of danger, one that's defined by passive-aggressive behavior and emotional reluctance.

It doesn't matter whether you're defensive by nature or just a little closed off: You've probably used the classic phrase at least once.

Maybe it was to avoid a mushy emotional conversation, or maybe it was to see if your partner could figure out the extent to which they screwed up on their own. Either way, dismissing your emotions to encompass this one little line can take its toll.

The words “I'm fine” can fester in your mind, building up little grievances until they all finally add up.

Perhaps two days ago, your boyfriend hurt your feelings. He said something rude that totally got under your skin. When he finally noticed your RBF (resting bitch face) and asked what was bugging you, you promised nothing was wrong.

Flash forward to today. Maybe he forgot to take the trash out, or maybe he made jokes about your bed head. Whatever it is, it pisses you off more than it should.

So, you blow up. You scream about the trash or the joke he just made. But you're really upset about what happened two days prior.

This buildup isn't bad for just you; it's also bad for your relationship. Not only does saying “I'm fine” reduce all your emotions to simply a couple of words, but it also destroys any communication between the both of you and the people you love.

We've all heard that communication is the foundation of any relationship. But why do we fail to actually talk?

Maybe we expect everyone to notice that something's a bit off. Maybe we expect our loved ones to over-analyze every detail, statement and action, just as we do. Or maybe – just maybe – we expect them to read our minds.

I mean, how could someone who allegedly knows me better than most people not pick up on a measly shift in emotion?

As easy as the possibility of mind reading might seem, it's not very reasonable. To my dismay, I've come to find that actually talking about the problems I have with people is way more constructive than harvesting emotional ammunition to throw at them whenever I get pissed off in the future.

Aside from this eventual supercharged airing of grievances, the “I'm fine” line can prove to be even more troublesome.

"I'm fine" is just a front... a mask, so to say. We hide behind it in the hopes that we won't have to reveal our true feelings or thoughts.

Although feelings can sometimes be confusing, they should never be embarrassing. They define us. They show people who we are and who we want to be.

By hiding behind the “I'm fine” front, we essentially breed and excuse passive-aggressive behavior. In addition, we fail to show people who we really are.

Who's to say what could happen as a result of years of bottling up your emotions? Maybe you'll become resentful, jaded or an emotional wreck. The only certainty is that closing yourself off to others is awful.

Although all this mushy talk may not be your cup of tea, it might actually help. A little constructive communication can go a long way when you're talking to someone you really care about. By hiding behind this one line, we might miss the opportunity to better ourselves and deepen our relationships.

Although it may seem frightening, I can assure you that talking about your problems does not make you seem crazy, selfish or weak. Instead, it makes you more open to change, resolution-building, others and yourself.

While dropping the "F-bomb" can seem like a pretty easy fix, it doesn't hold up in the long run. When used as a cover, “I'm fine” can prove to be worse than you ever anticipated.

It can cause your emotions to spiral out of control because you've continuously been ignoring them. It can make you irrational and passive-aggressive, and it can stop you from delving deeper into relationships with others.

So, the next time your boyfriend says something insensitive, your brother makes fun of your lack of athletic abilities or your friend doesn't invite you to dinner, tell these people HOW you feel, WHEN you feel it.

Don't expect them to read your mind, and don't bring it up way after the fact. “I'm fine” is only fine when you actually are.