Are you insulting your chronically ill friends?


Some subtly ableist but common phrases you should avoid.

“Get better soon!”
Should be, “I hope you feel better soon, or your symptoms decrease!”

“I’m normal/healthy.”
Should be, “I am able-bodied.”

“You’re differently abled/unhealthy/not normal.”
Should be, “You’re disabled.”

“You’d feel better if you tried yoga/prayer/whatever.”
Should be, “What treatments have you tried?”

“Oh my god! What happened to you?”
Should be, “How are you doing? May I ask, why you are using mobility device/brace/cast?”

“I have headaches so I completely understand your chronic migraines.”
Should be, “I cannot understand your illness, since the worst I have ever suffered is headaches. Let me know if there is anything I can do to better understand you.”

“You should get out more.”
Should be, “May I come over sometime to share a meal with you or relax?.”

“It must be so nice not to have to work/go to school.”
Should be, “It must be difficult to not be able to have an income or continue your education. Let me know if there is any way I can help you pursue your dreams.”

“It’s so tragic that [insert media character] is disabled.”
Should be, “I’m glad to see the media is portraying a character that represents 70% of the population.”

“I would just die if I had your condition!”
Should be, “I don’t understand how you cope with your condition. Can you explain to me how you’ve accepted your disability?”

“I’ve been praying that God will heal you!”
Should be, “Would you like me to pray for your healing?”

“I wish I could take my dog everywhere with me!”
Should be, “I’m glad that you have the resources to use such a multipurpose mobility aid such as a Service Dog.”

[First thing you say to the person] “I have been praying for you! God has your health in his mind!”
Should be, “How are you? Do you need any encouragement?”

“You are such an inspiration because you are disabled and coping with it!”
Should be, any other compliment not having to do with their ability to cope with a disability.

“I’m going to push your wheelchair now.”
Should be, “Do you want me to push you now?”

“But you don’t LOOK sick!”
Should be, “All disabilities are different, do you consider yours to be an invisible illness? How does it affect you?”

“Hey, at least it’s not Cancer.”
Should be, “It must be difficult to accept such a lifelong diagnosis. Is there any way I can help you?”

Add more subtly ableist phrases or alternatives! Show people how to communicate with us without it being so awkward!