I know he means well.
Yet, even before I got ME, I disliked this question. Let's face it, if we are tired we don't want to be reminded of the fact, and if we are not tired we don't want to think we look it!
Of course, I recognise that anyone asking me the "tired" question is most likely doing so because they care. So I am grateful of the sentiment behind the question. Maybe it would be worse if no-one ever asked?
Yet, I really do not like that question or any version of it. Here's a few examples of how the "tired" thing can work:
- Out somewhere and my companion says: "I don't want to wear you out, perhaps we should go home now?"
- Leaving a social event early: "Well, I think we'll go now. Sally can't stay out too late."
- Or when caught napping: "Oh dear! Is this all just too much for you?"
Again, I understand why folk say something. They do care for me, and I'm grateful for that. So, mostly I try to bite my tongue.
But what I'd really like is for my friends to help me forget my illness when I'm out. I'd much prefer they found some other little white lie for when the tired situation arises.
So dear friends here's what I'd prefer you say:
- Out somewhere, try: "How are you for time? Should we head back now?"
- Leaving company, make up an excuse. Perhaps even take the blame on yourself: "I'd like to get back home early because <insert vaguely plausible reason here>. Sally, are you happy to leave soon?"
- And finally if you see me napping somewhere, please just pass no comment!
As for my brother in law? Well, I know he'll continue to ask the tired question. It's just one of the regular conversations that we have. He asks, and I reply that I'm fine, and then I turn the question back to him. He chuckles and tells me that he's fine too. And so the moment moves on.