A lot of people do this. Sometimes it’s just annoying or hurtful. It can be really problematic if the person doing this has power over you, like a parent. Two really common questions this tends to happen with are:
- “Are you okay?"
- "Is something wrong?”
There are variants of this, and probably thousands of other ways for this to happen. But in general, the person asks a question and is expecting you to answer a certain way. So it isn’t a real answer, and they aren’t really asking because they want to know the real answer. They’re asking because:
- They want you to answer in a way that indicates everything is fine. This removes the obligation in their mind to feel any kind of concern for you, or to offer you assistance.
- At the same time, it makes them seem really compassionate, because they’re asking. This may be to trick you, or it may be to trick others into thinking they’re a really great person.
- With people like this, if you try to indicate that things aren’t okay, they will more than likely try to invalidate your concerns, or try to make you feel bad for voicing them. For example, they might say something like: “I don’t understand why you’re unhappy. It won’t kill you to walk around in a crowd for a few hours. I brought you here as a surprise, you’re supposed to be happy.“
This is extremely problematic because it makes it look like help is available to you which isn’t actually available. It can also make you start to think that it’s wrong to indicate that things aren’t okay when they aren’t.
Sometimes it’s best to recognise that these people aren’t really interested in helping you, and to avoid confiding in them, even if you can’t get away from them entirely. Sometimes it’s important to wait for someone trustworthy to confide in. People who will be supportive of you do exist.
The really important thing is to try not to let the untrustworthy people, the people who want fake answers to fake questions, make you think your concerns aren’t valid.
Your concerns are valid.