“Have you tried magnetic therapy?” “My friend had luck with acupuncture.” “I perform reiki and it could help you.” “My sister’s boyfriend’s cousin’s roommate’s father’s boss has the best doctor.”
Ok, the last one I made up, but let’s face it, we’ve all heard something like that, right? Friends, family, acquaintances, coworkers, and absolute strangers have all felt the need to give me advice on how to “fix” my health problems. Everyone has an idea and they feel the strong need to share it. I guess it hasn’t occurred to them that after 20 years, I’ve heard it all. It also doesn’t occur to them that what they’re suggesting might be completely ridiculous.
Tonight I was at a gathering with people I didn’t know. We had just met for the first time, but in talking about jobs, I mentioned that I wasn’t working due to health stuff. Later, when I was speaking one-on-one with someone, I referred again to my health problems. He asked if I’d heard of PatientsLikeMe. This was awesome! Let me explain….
First, PatientsLikeMe is actually useful. If I hadn’t heard of it I might have blown off the suggestion only because I get so many. But I knew of this site already so I knew how great they are. Second, he made it clear that he personally knew about this site, and he wasn’t suggesting it just because he “heard” it was good. Third, he was suggesting a way to find community. He was not suggesting a treatment. And finally, he was clearly trying to offer something that he honestly felt was useful because he cared. I think that many people do want to help, but many more want to feel useful and knowledgeable and giving advice accomplishes this. This guy wasn’t looking to feel good about himself by helping; he just wanted to help.
So for all of these reasons, this guy rocks. I told him how awesome that was, and explained the kind of “advice” I usually get and he was appalled. I just hope he can teach others how to be more helpful by not trying so hard to help.
Now I just need to come up with a good way to repel intrusive strangers……