In the movie Finding Dory, Hank the “septopus” (an octopus who has tragically lost a tentacle) is bringing a fish with short term memory loss Dory to look at a map. He lets out a terrific rant that I think perfectly encapsulates the concept of the phrase “I’m fine”. “Look, no more talking. Okay? I don’t like talking. I don’t like chatter and questions. And, ‘how are you? Oh I’m fine’ ‘How are you? I’m fine too.’ News flash- Nobody’s fine.”
The phrase “I’m fine” has become nothing more than filler words. A completely meaningless phrase with its only real impact being wasted time. This goes back fairly strongly with my comments on the phrase “How are you?”, except that phrase has seemed to retain enough of its meaning to stay useful. “I’m fine” is among the most dismissive statements to make when asked such a meaningful question.
“I’m fine” offers no sense of elaboration nor any sort of additional information. Additionally, it’s rarely used when one is actually feeling fine. How many times have you been in a tense situation with an individual and all they’ve said was “I’m fine”. It’s not helpful at all. When one uses that in response to “How are you?” or to a request such as “Can I get you anything else?”, all they are saying is that they want this interaction, or at least this part of it, to end. I’ve certainly done that. I get anxious and when someone is offering me things and I don’t know how to respond or accept them, I’ll just adamantly say that I’m fine but that I appreciate it. Whether that’s actually how I feel is more or less irrelevant. I default to that and I think that most people will do something similar.
In summary, I simply don’t think the phrase “I’m fine” has any sort of value with the possible exception to its dismissive nature. It just isn’t there. I don’t think there’s really any sort of point to using the phrase. I go out of my way to avoid it because I want my conversations to have a sort of substance deeper than a bowl of cereal.
Work Cited- Fandom. (n.d.). Finding Dory/Transcript. Finding Dory Wiki. Retrieved October 19, 2022, from findingdory.fandom.com/wiki/Finding_Dory/Transcript