Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Unsympathetic Sounding Sympathy

I'm ill and being unwell got me thinking about the things people say to their ill friends and colleagues out of sympathy. Some of these sayings make me chuckle. Now, I'm not saying I've never uttered any of these phrases because naturally I have. But sometimes what we say out of sympathy doesn't end up sounding very sympathetic.

"You look awful," or "You look horrible," or "You don't look good," or "You look tired." We say it out of concern but is it really something a sick person wants to hear? Obviously someone who is under the weather doesn't look that great but saying, "You look awful," makes the ill person sound just plain ugly. The more polite and grammatically correct way to express this same sentiment is to say "You don't look well." This way we're not saying the person is a hideous looking creature just that they look like they aren't feeling well.

Sometimes after chatting with a sick friend we'll simply say, "Feel better," upon leaving as in lieu of saying good bye. Mind you, I'm not talking about saying, "I hope you feel better." I'm talking about the simple command, "Feel better." That is what it is after all, a command. Who doesn't want to feel better when they're ill? Do they actually need to be commanded to feel better?

Here's another command that I recently received. "Stay healthy." Uh.... I was doing that and still became ill. I'm not healthy currently and I don't really want to continue staying the way I am right now. I am, however, doing my best to get healthy again and you don't need to command me to do so.

Finally, my favourite (and this was just said to me), "That cough doesn't sound good." When does a cough ever sound good? The last thing I think when I hear someone hacking away is that they have a great sounding cough.

That's all for now, but I'm sure there's more. If you think of any others post them in the comment section.

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