There are many ailments in the world that hold a stigma or induce fear; however treatable they may be. For every skin rash or suspiciously dark freckle, there is a person who won’t do anything about it.
Giving health advice can be a daunting task: You’re concerned for a person’s wellbeing but also need to consider relationship damage that could result from being too pushy.
Here are some strategies for providing health advice to those who won’t listen:
Off The Cuff
“It’s probably no big deal, but maybe you should get that checked out”
When trying to push someone to get the help they need, it is generally important to remember that the person may be embarrassed by their issue - be delicate. Ask leading questions, with a clear path in mind, and when there is an appropriate opportunity for interjection, go for it. Tell them the possible issue is easy fix and that they shouldn’t take chances when it comes to your health.
“Listen, you have a problem and I’m worried about you”
Indirect won’t always work. Beating around the bush may be painfully frustrating to the recipient, in which case the more direct route is prefered. If this is the case then it would help to do some research beforehand. Provide some material related to that person's specific case. A simple google search will likely produce loads of information, symptom checkers, treatment guides, side-by-side medication comparisons and helpful user reviews. Arm yourself with these materials when going direct.
Breaking Through Stubbornness
“Yeah, it’s probably nothing, but look what I found online”
Stubbornness is another route when tasked with convincing one of like-minded intensity. If neither of the above tactics worked, then it is best to just be consistent. Bringing up the facts, sticking to them, and picking the right times to press the issue.
Fear As a Wake Up Call
“Your father died of Cancer, you’re getting that lump examined”
Fear, while often a cruel tool, can be an effective way to get someone to listen; especially if the recipient has blatant symptoms and is just choosing not to acknowledge their ailment. It must be noted that while fear is an effective motivator, it should only be used as a last resort. Most people don’t enjoy having friends scare them over issues that are already sensitive in order to prove a point.
People neglect their bodies for different reasons. Be mindful of other people's feelings in the process of trying to get them to listen. Accept that sometimes the effort isn't worth the cost of a friendship. But remember that it pays to catch symptoms early - your efforts to communicate with a loved one now could truly save them in the long-run. So, like they say in the Big Apple: “If you see something, say something.”
Data Credit: The author Sandy Getzky is an associate editor at ProveMyMeds, a medication review site for common ailments that plague people everyday. She also serves as a contributor for publications like the National Nail Fungus Organization, Stretch Mark Authority, Inc, among other health oriented research organizations.