Most people have the best of intentions when speaking to those who struggle with their health. That said, remarks by friends and family are often off the mark.
Here are 12 simple comments that would actually be music to the ears of those with chronic illness (which includes chronic pain):
1. “I hope you’re having a relatively decent day, as things go.”
How nice for someone to acknowledge that the word “decent” isn’t the best way to describe my days. If I’m lucky, the days are “relatively decent.”
2. “I love your scarf.” (Substitute any item not illness or pain-related...)
Notice how a few of the comments that follow would be music to a healthy person’s ears. I include them because, in my experience, they’re less likely to be said to someone who is chronically ill, because the illness is always the elephant in the room.
3. “I’m so glad to see you.”
Well, that gives me a lift.
4. “Can I get that for you?”
Whew! Now I don’t have to get up.
5. “Can I drive you anywhere?”
Even if I don’t take the person up on it, what a nice offer!
6. “Let’s do something fun, like play Scrabble or a card game.”
I wouldn’t have suggested this, but I’m so glad someone else did.
7. “I’m sorry you have to miss [fill in the blank].”
Nothing feels so good as having someone understand how frustrating life can be at times for those of us who are sick and/or in pain.
8. “Anything new to report on your health?”
Or this alternative:
9. “I’m so glad you’re seeing me, because I know it must lead to payback later.”
These two comments tell me that this person still thinks about the fact that I struggle with my health every day, and I appreciate that greatly.
10. “I love seeing you, even though it can only be for a short time.”
Or this alternative...
11. “Let’s try to get together more often.”
These two comments tell me that this person enjoys my company. That makes me happy.
12. “It would be great if you felt better.”
At last, someone has actually put into the second person (“you”) what I say to myself every single day!