Things Not To Say
Earlier today I saw this brilliant post on A Little Bit Different. It details a list of ten things that people with Tourettes and their families often hear but would rather not.
It’s a great list and if you have a friend, family member, student or colleague who has Tourettes it’s a must-read. Lots of different people have contributed to it and it offers a thought-provoking insight into how hurtful thoughtless comments can be.
What’s interesting about this top ten is that only the third one, “Can’t you just stop?” is a question. All the others make an assumption or a judgement rather than seek information. Questions can be a really important part of helping people understand. I always encourage them and try to be open when answering.
I think people worry about asking questions because they don’t want to be nosy or say the wrong thing. But I can’t think of a single sincerely asked question that’s ever upset or offended me. Equally I can’t remember an upsetting or hurtful interaction that didn’t include someone making a judgement or assumption about me.
This goes way beyond Tourettes. As well as being open to answering questions, I’m going to try to keep my mind open to asking them as well and, most importantly, listening to the answers.
“Santa’s upgraded to chimpanzees.”