What to say when asked certain questions.
We often find ourselves in situations where people who don’t know us very well, and therefore don’t know about our current situation, ask us certain questions that may be difficult to answer. So I’ve decided to write this blog in the hopes that it can help you the next time you find yourself in such a situation.
What to say when people ask about work?
When we strike up a conversation with someone, work is often a subject that can come up. As a lot of people with disabilities don’t work, we’ll say exactly that. Then you’ll get asked why you don’t work. What to answer to that?
Depending on the person asking the question, you have several choices in how to answer.
- You can say it’s none of their business (which is the harsher way to respond)
- You can say you’re not comfortable discussing the reason why and leave it at that (when you word it like this, they can’t accuse you of being rude)
- You can say you’re disabled (then off course there will be the follow up question as to why you are disabled).
This brings me to the next question. When a person asks why you are disabled, how do you answer? Again, there are several options.
- Once more you can tell them it’s none of their business (be aware you may come across as rude).
- You can say you’re not comfortable talking about it.
- Or you can elaborate on your illness and risk them asking a whole bunch of questions you may not be able to answer.
Or once the person learns that you don’t work because you’re disabled, it’s possible they might cut the conversation short themselves and walk away. Though it has been my experience that curiosity usually wins out.
Off course there are many people out there with invisible illnesses that have yet to be diagnosed. I went un-diagnosed for 11 years, so what do you do then when people ask why you’re not working? You can’t just say you’re disabled, because you don’t yet know what you are, you have no idea what’s wrong with you, only that something is wrong that prevents you from working.
Once more the answers to the questions above apply. But before I was un-diagnosed and people asked me why I didn’t work, I usually replied that I was in between jobs and looking for a new one, I kind of lied because I didn’t want to face judgment. So yes, lying is also an option. Maybe not the best option, but then again, telling the truth isn’t always the best option either. And when dealing with relative strangers, no one’s gonna care if you tell a lie to protect yourself from persecution. I call it self-preservation.
Sometimes, after you’ve responded you’re disabled and have chosen to elaborate on your disability, people may ask about more than just your symptoms, they may ask what kind of difficulties you face every day.
Again, you can chose not to answer. Or you can chose to answer and risk facing disbelief (especially if you don’t look sick). I usually base my answers on how I’ve perceived the person I’m talking to so far (are they friendly, brisk, pushy?…) and then answer accordingly. It’s really about listening to what your instinct is telling you to do. In these types of situation I always try to get a feel for it and react accordingly to what my instinct seems to be telling me.
Remember there are no wrong or right answers, whichever way you answer is what’s right for you.
Then there are the types of questions that come off as rude or just downright shocking.
Like when you’re using a wheelchair or crutches and someone comes right up in your face and just plain out asks you ‘what’s wrong with you?’, how do you respond to such rudeness?
In these situations, again it depends who’s asking. Sometimes it will be little kids asking and I know they don’t mean to be rude, it’s just their curiosity showing. And sometimes it will be teenagers or adults, and then I do perceive that as rudeness.
When it’s children, there are different ways to handle it. You could just say I’m sick, but then you risk the child asking what kind of sickness, and I’m not particularly fond of trying to explain my illness to children. Usually I just say I fell, or I had an accident, because then children will just nod and sometimes ask if you’ll be okay. It’s not exactly the truth, but I find it’s the easiest way to handle curious children. I don’t see the need to scare them with talk of horrible illnesses. Sometimes a little white lie is for the best.
Now, when it’s a teenager or an adult coming up into my face and asking such a question (which is very rude when they’ve never even said a word to you), I usually respond by saying it’s none of their damn business. Not friendly, true, but they’re not exactly friendly to you, so why should you be considerate in answering them when they aren’t considerate towards your situation? I find that responding in such a curt way makes them leave faster and makes me less agitated.
Some diseases can cause a lot of teeth problems (and people always notice bad teeth, unfortunately). Unfortunately my situation also causes bad teeth, and that can lead to some pretty shocking and maddening encounters. Complete strangers have come up to me and asked me why I didn’t brush my teeth or why I’m too stupid to see a dentist?
Firstly, who are they to presume I don’t brush, or don’t see a dentist? Because I do, but it doesn’t matter because my teeth keep getting worse. They might be fine for a few weeks after a dentist visit, but then they’ll start to rot and chip off again, nothing I can do about it and I can hardly go see a dentist every day, can I?
When dealing with such people, you can give an angry reply, such as; ‘why don’t you wash? Cause you stink’ and that will make them either angry and lash out or will make them leave as quick as they came. Again, depends on the type of person you’re dealing with. I usually try to ignore them and walk away, though their words do hurt, I owe no explanation to them.
Again, I’ve had children ask me what was wrong with my teeth, and I don’t get angry then, because again, it’s just a child’s curiosity. Then I respond by saying my teeth are sick and leave it at that. The kids usually accept that as an answer.
So, these are a few examples on how to deal with certain questions being thrown your way. There are off course many more examples I could give, but the answers would be about the same as the other examples. I hope this is helpful to you when you find yourself in such a situation.
A/N: To comment, go to the box on the bottom where these words are above it: Geef Een Reactie, then write the comment and then click Reactie Plaatsen. Thanks