Anonymous asked realsocialskills:
I was wondering if you or your readers might have some advice. I have very poor balance and a pronounced limp due to a life-threatening illness and I work with the public. They comment on it, often asking what happened. It’s motivated by concern, but it’s embarrassing(I literally make people sad just by leaving the house) and I don’t know how to respond(do they think it’s going to be a funny story?). I think I’m bad for business and could quit if I really wanted. How do I deal with this issue?
- Just because someone asks doesn’t mean you have to explain
- If you give an answer, it doesn’t have to be accurate
- It’s your business and not theirs
Sometimes people aren’t actually looking for information. Sometimes they just want reassurance that they’re not supposed to be rescuing you.
- For people like that, it might help to say something like “Don’t worry; I’m used to it.”
Some people are obnoxious nosy jerks, and I don’t know of any good approaches to them. The best I’ve seen is pretending they haven’t said what they’ve said, or else telling them in plain language to knock it off.
- It might be better to say something like “Don’t worry, I’m used to it.” Sometimes what people want isn’t information; they sometimes really just want reassurance that there isn’t anything they should be doing to fix it.
- Or something obviously absurd like “I’m recovering from a zombie attack.”
- It’s also ok to say “That’s a rather personal question.” That probably works better with colleagues or in social situations than when working with the public, though.
- “You look like you’re falling over. Are you ok? What’s wrong?”
- “I’m fine. Can I help you select some sunglasses? There’s a sale on women’s styles this week.”
Anyway, those are my guesses. Any of y'all have more informed advice?