How do you handle certain situations??

August 14, 2019

If someone that you have never met before was coming to your house and had a broken arm - would you ask about it?

If someone that you have never met before was coming to your house and was using a cane or crutches - would you ask about it?

If someone that you have never met before was coming to your house and had a black eye - would you ask about it?

If someone that you have never met before was coming to your house and had leg braces - would you ask about it?

If someone that you have never met before was coming to your house and was in a wheel chair - would you ask about it?

I once had eye surgery and was very bruised. I waited until I was mostly healed before going in public but it was still bruised. I saw a person that I knew but not she did not know that I had had surgery. She could not look me in the eye and was very uncomfortable talking to me. She did not ask about my eye but immediately called a mutual friend to ask about me. If I had stitches or a cast or a sling I know she would have asked me what happened. The bruised eye made her uncomfortable but if it were a bruised arm or leg she probably would have asked about it even though it could have happen in a violent way also (which is I guess what she assumed).

If you don't ask someone about something that is so obvious it is reflection on your level of comfort or is it just plain rude to inquire?

There is a person that I know and talk to when we are at the same events. This person is missing the lower portion of an arm. I have never asked about their arm but I feel I should sometimes. Not only because I am interested but because it seems like by not asking I am showing that I am uncomfortable about their difference - but I am not.

Comments (27)

  • maire_cate

    If I were the person with the (-broken arm- crutches- wheelchair etc. ) I might offer an explanation. It depends on the circumstances and why I was at their house. I would not expect someone that I did not know to inquire.

    Rory thanked maire_cate
  • Yayagal

    No, I would not inquire if you don't know them. It would be rude.

    Rory thanked Yayagal
  • Related Discussions

    How do I search for certain users on Houzz?


    Comments (3)
    I don't see the "in Users" option when I type into the search bar on my iPad. Is it possible to search for specific users on ipad? I am using the most updated version of iOS and the houzz app.
    ...See More

    What do you use to wash your windows and how often do you do it?


    Comments (148)
    I was in the industrial cleaning biz for 15 years and hired a service to clean some of the most important windows at the GM Tech Center. He used Dawn and a squeegee. The rags were only used to dry his squeegee. Sadly, my own windows are a mess from years of bug spray which they claim will rinse off with a power washer. Nope. It doesn't. We quit the service 5 years ago and the windows are all still hazy. It's something to do with the pyrethrum and I've asked around - yep, it's bad for windows but you can't help to get the overspray when they spray your entire house. When I clean my windows I use Dawn, cleaning vinegar, and a nice squeegee and only a towel to dry my squeegee. You don't go up and down or from one side to the other. You go in a big hairpin turn type of swiping with the squeegee. It's hard to describe, but, it's how it's done. Yes, it's time. I haven't cleaned mine since spring, mostly because I haven't been here much. Our windows at our vacation home are bad as well, right now. I've been there as much as I've been here.
    ...See More

    How do I handle a room with both arched and straight windows?


    Comments (4)
    Wow, wonderful windows! Where you feel privacy is a concern I would put all the drapery rods the same height, using straight ones, and get them quite a bit wider than the windows (especially the arched ones) so that you can see/enjoy the arch. On that long wall you might even want to put sort of a continuous rod with the curtains basically covering the wall. But you don't need to put curtains on every window - for example in the kitchen - so you can have that nice look from your inspiration photo. A high contrast paint color, at least on that kitchen wall, would accentuate the arch. I think the arched rod look is more traditional and your space is not traditional. Good luck.
    ...See More

    Help, do I forfeit my deposit to end a bad situation?


    Comments (9)
    Tell your husband to get off his big dead ass and call an attorney. Have the attorney write a letter, send it certified mail, and tell this woman she has exactly two weeks and not a single day longer to COMPLETE the kitchen in its entirety and resolve all other items now incorrect, including a lack of tops. Every single day beyond that should mean a ten % reduction in your balance owed. You CAN move into your house. The lag on your tops is the result of HER lag on your cabinets and thus the template and cut and polish and install You can't really blame those folks for her screw up A fridge, a simple sheet of plywood with a cheap drop in sink and faucet hook up, and a range to cook a meal can get you through until it is complete, Just as if you were stuck living there in a remodel. Tell the CONTRACTOR to use his brain and get busy too, Then, hire an excellent sitter for one full day, and go get a mani, pedi and massage. Take yourself to lunch and have a glass of wine. Call in sick for one night, and go to bed early. It will help.: )
    ...See More
  • Moxie

    I wouldn't ask. If people want to share information, they will.

    Rory thanked Moxie
  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

    Are you presuming that was why she didn't ask? Or did she later tell you so?

    Her discomfort may have been about not wanting to seem rude, but still being curious and the inner conflict of that. Maybe just trying not to seem to be staring?

    If it was a close friend or relative, I would certainly ask - even a co-worker that I am friendly with might be questioned in a concerned way - like: "Oh dear, did you have an accident?"

    I would likely say something sympathetic, even if I had not met that person before.

    Wheelchair or leg braces is another matter. I can't think of any way to ask that wouldn't seem just nosy. Unless, of course this was a suddenly new development, but you said someone we never met...

    Rory thanked carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
  • girlnamedgalez8a

    My husband was very sick with Sepsis a few years ago & when he finally came home he was on an IV for 6 months. A nurse came in several times a week & this one had been out a few times. I finally asked when her baby was due, she looked to be about 7 months along. She replied that she was not pregnant but had a tumor. She had no health Insurance & the tumor was benign. She could not afford to have it removed. I was beside myself for bring it up. She was very kind. I will never do that again.

    Rory thanked girlnamedgalez8a
  • patriceny

    I wouldn't ask either.

    Some people love to talk about whatever medical/physical problems they may have, other people are intensely-private about such things.

    If you don't know the person well enough to know which camp they may fall into, then you don't know them well enough to ask such extremely personal questions.

    Rory thanked patriceny
  • eld6161

    A bruised eye can be a number of things. Domestic violence comes to mind. I once walked into the corner of a door and got a bad bruise. Years ago I was waiting for a train in the subway when a young police officer asked how it happened! You could tell he didn't believe me. I know he was trying to be helpful, but I was embarrassed

    As someone who has worked at various jobs with the disabled population, I can often size up what the condition might be.

    I agree with Patric and Carol. . IMHO if you don't know the person, it is none of your business. That said, some disabled people like to share their stories, but then others do not. I would ask only if I knew the person some what and only if they were in a recent accident. I don't see the point of ignoring a person now using crutches when they weren't yesterday. That shows compassion.

    Someone who has been using crutches all their life, this can go both ways.

    ETA: I would never ask a woman how far along they were if you don't for sure know they are pregnant.

    I would also never assume that the "older" woman with the young child is the grandmother not the mom.

    Rory thanked eld6161
  • cawaps

    If someone that you have never met before was coming to your house and had a broken arm - would you ask about it?

    Probably not. Not out of politeness, but if I never met them before how they broke their arm is just one of a zillion things I don't know about them.

    If someone that you have never met before was coming to your house and was using a cane or crutches - would you ask about it?

    Same. Though a cane is more likely to be a permanent accessory (I know a lot of older people who use canes all the time), so politeness might come into play.

    If someone that you have never met before was coming to your house and had a black eye - would you ask about it?

    It would almost certainly get an "Ooh, that looks like it hurt" from me. I would probably ask.

    If someone that you have never met before was coming to your house and had leg braces - would you ask about it?

    No, as I would presume a permanent disability in the absence of other information.

    If someone that you have never met before was coming to your house and was in a wheel chair - would you ask about it?

    I wouldn't ask about it, as I would presume a permanent disability in the absence of other information. But since you can't get into my house with a wheelchair, I would hope that they would have let me know in advance their accessibility needs. We'd have to meet somewhere else.

    Rory thanked cawaps
  • sushipup1

    I ran into a young man at the dentist's office yesterday with his hand in a cast. I said, "I bet that slows you down." But it was obviously a fresh cast and I didn't ask what happened. He offered the details of his accident.

    I'd ignore everything. The more I've been around people with all the things you mention, the more I know that they'll bring it up if they want to.

    Yes, a black eye can be the result of domestic violence. But if it's not someone I know, I would not presume the cause. Yeah, I might mention it to a mutual friend.

    Rory thanked sushipup1
  • 3katz4me

    I would not ask about such things If I was meeting the person for the first time. Sometimes people offer some info under the circumstances and then I would express some genuine interest and concern vs. busy-body nosiness.

    If I'd seen the person more than once and now knew them well enough to have a more than superficial conversation then I might ask by saying - do you mind if I ask how you come to be in a wheelchair or how you lost your leg or will you be getting your cast off soon? You will then get a very clear idea if they welcome your interest or not.

    I'm an above knee amputee so if I'm wearing a skirt or shorts it's of course obvious and sometimes complete strangers will strike up a conversation about it which I don't mind. Anyone I meet and get to know at all usually asks me about it. If they didn't I would think they are the kind of person who isn't comfortable doing so. If I'm wearing long pants sometimes people I don't really know will ask me if I hurt my leg. I just say no, it's always like this. If I know the person at all then I tell them more about it.

    I'm very open about this though. I have a friend who always wears long skirts so her prosthetic leg doesn't show and she would be mortified if someone said anything about it. You can often take your cue from the person - if they're open to talking about the situation or not.

    Rory thanked 3katz4me
  • morz8

    I would not ask about cane, braces, wheelchair. And probably not a black eye if someone I did not know.

    If someone were to be here with crutches (I'm assuming foot in boot, a cast, some kind of evidence of injury) or arm in a cast, I would likely ask if they were comfortable and if they needed anything since those circumstances would indicate to me fall, injury, accident.

    So I think what I'm saying is, if someone had a disability I would wait until I knew them well enough they might share. If it seemed apparent they had a condition caused by accident or surgery that they were recovering from, I'd try to be helpful and in that light would voice interest and concern.

  • ccrunneroklahoma






    If someone wants you to know about their condition they will tell you when the time is right for them.

  • Feathers11

    I love threads like this, because how I initially might respond is inevitably changed after I read others' responses. It's great to gain these different perspectives.

  • grapefruit1_ar

    I would not ask about leg braces, crutches, a wheelchair, or a black eye. I would most likely say something about a cast on an arm. I might say, " oh, goodness, I hope that you are not in discomfort!" I do not think that is nosy or rude. It is caring.

    I have had extreme dermatitis on my face/neck for the past 18 months. I have seen a new doctor a week ago and am now looking normal for the first time in a long time!! During the past year many, many people have commented about my bright red, scaly, oozing, bumpy face. Most comments were about bad sunburns or such. Never once did I think that anyone was rude or nosy.

  • nannygoat18

    No. they are people, not curiosities.

  • Lukki Irish

    I would never ask someone why they’re in leg braces or why they need a wheelchair. Instead, I would try to ensure that the person in braces has comfortable seating, or the person in the wheelchair can navigate the room ok. I’d never question a broken bone, draw attention to a skin condition or an amputee either. It’s not because I don’t care, it’s because I do. I have rosacea and know first hand how uncomfortable those questions can be.

    The exception for me is a black eye, but I wouldn’t ask about “it”, I would ask if the person is ok and asking would depend on the person and their body language. I’m the victim of spousal abuse so when I see a black eye along with body language that’s characteristic to abuse, it brings out the protective side in me. If I don’t sense something is wrong from the person’s body language, I don’t ask.

    Something that I don’t think some people realize is that just because someone answers to inquiries as if they don’t mind, doesn’t make that true. You’ve put that person on the spot by asking, which is uncomfortable in itself, but it could also make that person more self conscious or affect their self esteem

  • jojoco

    Being honest here—I would want to know but wouldn’t ask. Even a compassionate comment( from me) might have a fishing expedition foundation. So I say nothing. And as far as black eyes go, my sister had a nasty one from a tooth extraction.

  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

    Is it rude to ask someone how long they have to be in a cast? I do that sometimes, not nosily, but to sympathize.

  • dedtired

    Broken arm, I would probably say Oh what happened? Broken arms are temporary. It’s awfully hard to just ignore a cast and not mention it.

    Crutches i. might mention if they also had some temporary device on a foot.Agin, hard to ignore. Cane, I would not mention because it might be due to a permanent condition such as balance problems.

    Black eye — I would say That’s quite a shiner! Again it’s temporary and if her husband punched her in the eye she could respond Yes it’s a doozy and not explain beyond that. If you are walking around with a big black eye I kind of feel like you should say something about it first since it’s impossible to ignore., even if you Please forgive my appearance.

    Leg brace I would not mention.

    Wheelchair , I would hope someone let me know in advance since my house has a step at every entrance. If it was a friend who was t in a wheelchair two days ago, I’d ask. If I never met them before or barely knew them, I guess I wouldn’t. Depends on the circumstanceS. There’s no one answer to each of these questions. Sometimes asking is the caring, concerned thing to do.

  • yeonassky

    I'm not sure. Sometimes conversations with total strangers segueway into completely surprising topics. If we are talking and we are connecting I might ask. Sometimes I have been in that situation I have simply said have you had the situation from birth. And they have told me yes or no and then went on to tell me more. I've always said please don't tell me you if you don't wish to talk about it. I will understand.

    Most people don't mind gentle inquiries particularly if you are sympathetic and compassionate in your response.

    My sister works at a disabled place and my sister is disabled as well so I often meet many strangers with challenges/afflictions. Sometimes the disability fades away and sometimes it seems to be the elephant in the room. It depends on the situation. Case-by-case that's the way I take it.

  • nosoccermom

    If someone that you have never met before was coming to your house and had a broken arm - would you ask about it? Yes

    If someone that you have never met before was coming to your house and was using a cane or crutches - would you ask about it? No

    If someone that you have never met before was coming to your house and had a black eye - would you ask about it? Yes

    If someone that you have never met before was coming to your house and had leg braces - would you ask about it? No

    If someone that you have never met before was coming to your house and was in a wheel chair - would you ask about it? No

    If it's an obvious injury, i.e. temporary, it seems worse to me not to remark on it because then it becomes the elephant in the room.

    If it's a chronic issue/disability, I wouldn't bring it up unless there's an extended conversation.

    Also, if they come to your house, there's presumably some connection, e.g. an invitation. So it's not like walking up to a stranger and quizzing them out of pure curiosity.

  • littlebug zone 5 Missouri

    Never. If they want you to know, they'll tell you.

    (If someone came to my house wearing leg braces, of COURSE I wouldn't ask! My mother would have rapped me on the head for doing such a thing!)

  • nosoccermom

    This is interesting to me because I wonder to what extent there are cultural differences whether something is perceived as curiosity/invasion of privacy or interest/compassion.

    In the German version of the medieval story of Percival/Parsifal and his quest for the Holy Grail, P. is cursed because he doesn't ask the old Fisher king about his wound. He had been taught not to be curious. Only after five more years of trials and wandering about, he gains the wisdom through compassion for suffering and asks the question why the king suffers, and then becomes keeper of the grail.

    In the Old French version, the unasked question is about the grail, not the king's wounds.

  • bpath Oh Sophie

    Many years ago, I was newish to a group of other young adults. One day the group came over to my house, first warm day of the year so shorts had been pulled out of storage. One gal had a big brace on her knee and everyone asked “omg, what happened?” She’d had surgery, she said. I turned to the cute guy next to me and asked “and what about you?” ”Motorcycle accident”. Omg, he didn’t have a brace, he had a prosthesis. I wished I could crawl under a rock. Turned out okay, though: we ended up dating for a while.

    I‘m much more discreet now.

  • Jenn TheCaLLisComingFromInsideTheHouse

    I'd probably wait for the person to volunteer the information, if they don't then they don't want me to know/to have to go through all the details with yet another person (I've found that one can handle the first few inquiries and may be comfortable getting into the details of how/why/what happened, but after that the constant inquiries get to be irritating and you become less comfortable with talking about things and start wishing people would stop with the inquisition).

    For a minute I'd read the OP differently, and was going to say "NO! I don't care how nice the guy seems or whether he's got a cast on his arm, there's no way I'm going to help him put the groceries in his car or anything else! Ted Bundy used that whole scheme and murdered the heck out of a large number of women!" :P

  • aprilneverends

    Just don't ask me what it was(c)

    If I have some time with a some point they'll probably tell me. They'll feel comfortable enough. Or not. But usually they'll will.

    they might regret it too

    I'm still full of guilt because many years ago when I was living in dorms there was a girl on the crutches....I think she had prosthetics too..both legs..

    .I had to help her with her studies one evening and she felt she can short ..her own mother pushed her under the trum when she was a little girl..

    and I..I was a good listener..and I think she got that hope.. wanted us to become friends..she got that hope from me being a good listener that one night..

    but I was about to graduate soon, while she was just starting and I was in a short I couldn't be there for her in a way that would be real, you know?..

    so I kept polite distance..

    and each time since then when it's so so sad when people cut me off or keep their distance or whatever..

    I remember that girl. her smile full of hope. that became more faint by the day. damn my good listening. and damn me..

    there will be always exceptions I guess..somebody runs towards my house with black eye ..I've much more reasons to assume thus to ask thus to make a plan-even in a haste

    In other cases I'd just try to do everything to make that person comfortable, so my questions might be pertaining to that..where's better to sit for example

    i myself am very not comfortable with questions, and I think am right not to share too much-because couple times that I went for it because was asked in the kindest way possible-just led to another person feeling bad, and overall trouble.

  • Jenn TheCaLLisComingFromInsideTheHouse


    When it comes to the black eye thing, I don't know how many times I wished that people would do something besides 'mind their own business' when I showed up with one (or on one particular occasion, two). I know that people don't want to get involved in situations that might put them in serious jeopardy, but when I was in an abusive relationship, everyone (and I mean *everyone* in the same social group, even acquaintances) basically stuck their fingers in their ears and did the "La la la I can't hear this woman getting beat on/berated" thing. It took me a really long while to forgive the ones who sat there in the same room/place while it happened. My experience is why I will do what I must to help anyone going through that kind of thing; help make an escape plan, provide a 'hideout', call police and wait with the person, I'd even put myself in between the abuser and the abused to keep them from continuing a physical attack if I had to (of course, I'd also be holding my firearm just in case). I volunteer to provide legal advice and services to victims of DV as well.

    When you've gone through it, you tend to be able to pick up when someone else is dealing with the same kind of issue. Well, at least if you stop and pay attention to what is said and the body language. Listening more than speaking.

Need help with an existing Houzz order? Call 1-800-368-4268