Answering “What’s new with you?”

What’s new? It’s a simple, standard question. We all ask it and have it asked of us dozens or hundreds of times each year. Sometimes it’s like saying “Hello” and the asker doesn’t expect an answer. But sometimes they do. And sometimes, the answer is complicated.

I’m not talking about health stuff here. Well I am, but not directly.

When someone asks “What’s new?” sometimes what’s new is bodily issues. That’s probably true of anyone with a chronic illness. But sometimes it’s health-related stuff. When someone asks “What’s new?” should I tell them about my uncertainty about Section 8, fights with health insurers, problems with doctors, and about how I’m running out of room to store medical supplies at home? Should I explain my concerns around earned income and Social Security or the way that Medicare and Medicaid work together to cover costs but sometimes they fail, even when it means having to give a 20 minute explanation of the entire system just so it makes sense?

It’s like back in the days when I used to work. If someone asked me how work was going, I’d say it was good or bad, or maybe tell a funny story, but I wouldn’t talk about the boring issues with vendors or the technical aspects. I wouldn’t use terminology that I first had to define.

And that’s how it is with a chronic illness. Even when I’m not talking about my actual health, it’s hard to answer the question because so much of what’s happening in my life is health-related in one way or another.

So now I’m asking you: How do you answer the question, “What’s new with you?” Please let me know in the comments!

12 Responses to Answering “What’s new with you?”

  1. MjBee says:

    I generally say same old, and then divert the conversation. I guess it depends who the listener is. If its someone i am comfortable with i may indulge more, but it its an acquaintance, i just say same old shit…lol

    • chronicrants says:

      Yeah, I say that too if they ask about my health. But it’s boring when someone asks “What’s new?” to never have anything to say.

      • MjBee says:

        Do you read or watch series or films? You could tell them about. I tell people about the latest tv series im watching on netflix or the latest book im reading. Or if i have an opinion on something happening in the world, ill say ive been thinking about such and such!

      • chronicrants says:

        Those are good ideas! They’re not personal, but at least they’re ways of participating from a first person perspective.

  2. rosewrites says:

    YES this is so hard! I normally try and divert too, flip the conversation back on to them. I usually say something along the lines of, ‘well, I’m alive!’ and then ask them about themselves. If they ask nice caring questions and/or I know, like and trust them, I will share more, but generally tend not to linger so it turns into a rant. I let the conversation be led by them. The downside of the diversion approach is that you can come off as aloof or not wanting to share anything, which can add to the isolation of chronic illness. But depends who you’re talking to of course…

  3. Lorna says:

    Not a lot! Even though I’m having a real tough time at the moment. Don’t want to share that though as difficult to get people to understand. So do the usual dog, children, grandchildren update.
    Hope your foot is feeling a bit better.
    Hugs xx

    • chronicrants says:

      Updating about family members is a good idea… unless, of course, you’re talking to a family member! 😉 Unfortunately I have no offspring, even the furry kind, to update about. Yet.

      Thanks! My foot is slowly improving. I’ll know more later this week. I’m very excited to one day walk without a boot on!

  4. chronicrants says:

    I find it interesting that everyone responded by saying they avoid answering the question. I wrote another post about avoiding the question a while back. My current issue (and I probably should have been a whole lot more clear about it in the post) is that I don’t *want* to avoid answering! I *want* to answer! It’s just hard to answer when the stuff that’s new with me is all health-related.

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