Have you ever asked a friend or family member if they're ok when you already know the answer? They're not ok, something is wrong and you can see it and feel it. They may not tell you at that moment because perhaps the circumstances aren't right (not a safe environment to talk/kids are demanding attention/it is a busy time of day/various other reasons) so you're met with a 'yeah I'm fine' response and a halfhearted smile. This leaves you more concerned, perhaps you have a knot in your stomach creating stories in your head about what they're going through. I wonder if its a case of being more mindful about how we ask the question.
I was watching a film last night with a line that I thought was interesting. Two guys meet and one guy, Peter is clearly dealing with a lot of emotional pain so the other guy, Kunu says "It looks like you got a little pain behind those eyes". Many people have already tried to help Peter at this point in the film but each time they have been buffered away with an "I'm fine" type response. Because Kunu was honest and soft in his approach he was met with a genuine response of "yeah, maybe a little". Kunu actually asked the question he really wanted to ask without being afraid to do so. I think sometimes fear can hold us back from being honest with people about what we can really see. This can then affect how close we get in our relationships.
Mindfulness helps us to speak from the heart more often with more truth and less skimming around the edges. Because it helps us to open up our own hearts more (listening to ourselves more in meditation) we then learn to open up more freely with others, acknowledging the fear and then letting it go. I have noticed that words come to me now that I would not have found before mindfulness. That's not to say that I always get it right (we're all human after all) but I feel I trust my gut instinct more and pause more frequently to observe the situation before speaking from the heart. As my true self comes out, so does that of others.