“How Are You?”
When your friend, or someone who you know has been having serious medical issues, the phrase “how are you?” carries a lot more weight than you might imagine. Inquiring into possibly the most dramatic and depressing part of their lives may not be best approached with the same three word sentence you get when you enter Costco. Here are a few tips to ease interactions with your medically challenged friends and family.
1) It shouldn’t be the first thing you say. We are delicate people, literally and figuratively. You should treat every interaction with us like a first date (minus the awkwardness and end goal of getting us to bed) . Work it in slowly. We spend the majority of our time trying to feel normal and good about ourselves alone in our bedrooms with loud music and Facebook likes. Maybe hit it off with a compliment or a story about your life lately?
2) Talk about something else. FOREPLAY IS IMPORTANT. We know you’re dying to ask. Give us the benefit of genuine, non awkward, beating around the bush. Just that little bit of non formal, extracted dialogue gives us trust in the conversation and lubricates the inevitable unearthing of said metaphorically large “animal in the room”. These casual subjects give us a moment of relief. You’re another human being! You’re the conformation of life on earth! If the first thing you say is “how do you feel” we are immediately focused on how we feel. The worst thing to do for a person who suffers with isolation issues is to ask them what it’s like to not have any friends? Understand my drift?
3) Don’t announce OUR problems to other people when you’re drunk! This is a battle that we alone have to face. If you tell the dragon our weakness before the fight we don’t stand much of a chance in the impending metaphorical battle of conversation. Talking to strangers can be the best part of our day in many instances! The joys of an un-biased conversation! You can talk Breaking Bad spoilers the entire night and never have to talk about yourself! Who knows!? We may be building up our approach for something more than a game of tonsil tag in the bathroom. As sensitive human beings we often seek meaningful connections with the people we engage with. The health card is a good one to drop when the time is right but maybe streaming out of a drunk persons mouth is not the Jude Law of wingman tactics.
4) Don’t sell us your shit. If you run a massage therapy clinic, by all means offer your services at a lower cost for a bit of conversation and to be helpful, but don’t regurgitate the lessons from your teacher like they are the new Ginsu knife. We are stubborn. Everyone is stubborn. The ways that we deal with our issues is largely unaffected by the advice we get from every Reiki trained, holistic medicine certified, yogi friends we have. Lend your advice in a educational, non invasive manner with only the effort to help and then move onto a new subject. It means a lot when people are willing to help but be sure not to come across as imposing. “I am here for you… and oh hey! I need someone to help test out this new massage table?” 😉
5) Please do ask! Using your judgement, taking into account your relationship with this person and their current state of affairs make an educated choice if this is something you should mention.
We do need to talk about these issues. It is a constant, throbbing headache of metaphorical strength that sits at the forefront of our minds like an over achiever at the front of a home economics class in high school. At the end of the day we NEED you to acknowledge it. Because we know that you know, and you know that we know that you know that we know… It shows interest and concern for our situation and us as a person more than a news story. Even with the best intentions it has to be done right in order to receive the response you would like.
6) Timing is everything, leaving the conversation on a supportive but inquisitive note is heart warming for the both of you. I get to know that you have heard and are concerned for my well being, and you get to have a connection with me and my issues beyond that of an electronic third party or your drunken friend.
When the issues that we deal with medically are raw and on the surface it’s hard to foretell what the response to your inquiries may be. However, I assure you that, by taking a bit of discretion, and good judgement outlined here that they will be far more receptive your alternative yoga health options and your general curiosity. Share your feelings, express your support and remind them that they are loved and cared for in this world.
Thanks for listening.