Take That, Ms. Know-It-All!

What to say when you're thrown a curveball question about your rheumatoid arthritis.

Dana Gottesman with Lori Murray

3. ‘‘Eww, I really hate needles!’—The blurter
These people don’t have any filter! Unfortunately, that’s probably how they respond to everything, so don’t waste time setting the record straight.

The comeback: “Yes—and you should see how long the needle is!”
Ideally, you’d avoid saying anything about your condition around them. If that’s not possible, use this improv comedy reply. The “Yes, and…” works because it makes the person stop and wonder why you agree, and then you exaggerate the reason. Or you can take the opposite tact and disagree: “That’s funny, ’cause I’m not scared of needles at all!”
It worked for me: “Everyone is surprised and shocked when they learn that I have an infusion once a month to treat my RA,” says Honey Levin, 70, of Scottsdale, AZ, “but it’s not a big deal to me. Some people will go ‘Eww!’ I think initially, it’s irksome to hear that. But I say: ‘It’s my spa day! I’m there for a couple hours to get the infusion. Everyone in the center is chatty, and I make the best of it!’ ”

April 2013