Dear Bitter Butch,
People at work seem to want to know details about my chronic condition. I’ve told them that I have fibromyalgia, which is why I sometimes miss work. They ask questions about my medications and doctors. I’d rather not discuss these things. It doesn’t help that they talk freely about their colds, headaches, surgeries, hot flashes, etc. What should I do?
I know this one! I know this one! Instead of answering questions you’d rather not, I’m loaning you the phrase I use with people who are just too damn interested in my health: “Oh my god I can’t imagine a more boring topic than my dreary doctor appointments,” and then I quickly ask them about their colds, headache, or hot flashes. It helps that I am actually interested in their colds, headaches, or hot flashes, but if you are not, practice assuming a rapt expression during their recitation.
When all else fails, pretend you just got a super important phone call.
You could also just say: “I’d rather not discuss it,” but I’ve tried this and it never works. Ever.
BITTER BUTCH aka Haddayr Copley-Woods is a queer, a cripple, a nerd, a mom to two kids with neurological differences, and has a truckload of opinions on everything including sex and relationships, parenting, disability issues, family relationships, work dynamics, gender/sexuality issues, and etiquette. You can reach her with all your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org