I almost never use “Are you OK?” on its own.
Otherwise I get the standard reflex response of the English:
“Yep, fine. You?”
“All good. How about you?”
“Yea not bad. You?”
“Are you OK” is generally used in situations where one party does not look ‘OK’, and the asker is requesting confirmation.
The English will generally deflect and avoid the question, preferring a flippant response so that they do not have to delve into messy world of feelings.
You know – “stiff upper chin” and all that.
Depending on context, I use a modified approach.
“Hey, you sounded a bit strained when we spoke earlier. How’s everything?”
Paradoxically, the person will feel that they now have the permission to open up a bit, which perhaps is the first step to sharing something deeper and more meaningful.
It’s just a little thing, but it opens a crack in the doorway.
With some friends though, I can ask, “Are you OK?” and I know that I will get the genuine response of how they are feeling.
Use your judgement.
There are many who aren’t used to sharing their feelings, so be gentle and sensitive, as they may have been injured before.
If you’re not sure, then stick with #AreYouOk.
It’s a good first step.