“You Look So Good!” 55 Ways You Say You Respond When Ill

“You look so good!” Why do these words convey criticism to one who is ill rather than good wishes?

Over 1200 people took our survey and one of the things they shared was how they respond to the well-meaning (but annoying) comment, “You look so good!”

We know people mean it as a compliment, but still. . . doesn’t it sort of feel like they are saying, “You don’t look sick, so what’s this about some illness?” Even though we know they have good intentions it seems like it gets under the skin of many of you. One author even wrote an article for us about whether she should wear makeup or not when she feels really lousy.

And we discovered from our survey, that sometimes you just have to respond to “but you look so good” — a smile doesn’t say all that you want to say.

But, of course, one of the temptations is to use sarcasm in our response.

Most of us can say that it depends on who says it. We may be more likely to smile and say, “If only it were true!” to a friend who doesn’t really get it. To the person behind at us the grocery store who commented about our groceries, we are more likely to say something sarcastic since we don’t have to deal with repercussions of a stressed relationship.

Just remember that our seemingly justified bitter comments back at them can only alienate people more and it does nothing to create an awareness of invisible illness. But who of us doesn’t relate with wanting to say a few of these things on the list below?

The most telling comment I read was from a woman who simply said, “I wonder why they can’t see my pain in my eyes?” It’s a good reminder that though we sometimes think the world should accommodate our emotional needs, who around us is hurting for other reasons (divorce, loss of job, loss of loved one, etc.) and they are wondering about us, “Why can’t she see the pain in my eyes?”

Be sure to add your own at the bottom in the comments section!

  1. I am hangin’ in there…
  2. I am so blessed. God is so good.
  3. Drugs are a wonderful thing
  4. I have my good days and I have my bad days.
  5. I clean up well.
  6. I have my ‘good’ days…. but this isn’t one of them!
  7. Thanks, I wish I felt better.
  8. That’s a perfect example of how you can never judge a book by it’s cover.
  9. Thanks, but there are many aspects of my illness which you don’t see … would you like to know more about it?
  10. That’s what most people think since pain can’t be seen most of the time. Have you heard about Invisible Illness Week? It’s really helpful to let people now that most illness is invisible.
  11. I’m trying to appreciate that fact. I know the day may come when I have to use a wheelchair or a cane, and my illness will be more visible.
  12. You should be on the inside.
  13. Thanks. I have more to be grateful for than I have to complain about – which means I have a LOT to be grateful for!
  14. Well I guess I did good job on my makeup, because I am having a hard time to tell the truth.
  15. . . .And that’s all that really matters, isn’t it?
  16. Powder and paint, make you what you ain’t!
  17. It took a lot of work to look like this.
  18. It’s God shinning through me
  19. It’s nice of you to think so, but you’re missing the pain and agony that I really am in.
  20. And you look so wise. Looks can be deceiving though, huh?
  21. I’m having a “good face” day.
  22. Yeah. My kid thinks it’s cool I’m an ill person working under-cover!
  23. I do a great job hiding how I really feel.My life is still very challenging and probably will always be, but I am hanging in there, keeping a positive faith, and gratitude as THE attitude. Thanks for their concern.
  24. I’m trying my best to do well OVER my circumstances instead of being under them!
  25. It’s up and down.
  26. I’m still struggling, but it IS nice to have a day when I am able to pull myself together and make it out of the house!
  27. I’m not complaining about my looks.
  28. I’m very good at pretending.
  29. Good, because if I looked like I feel it would scare you to death.
  30. Actually, I still am really hurting…
  31. I am 36 years old outside but 85 inside
  32. Thank you. I’m on my way to the Oscars.
  33. Thanks, I’m grateful for this good day.
  34. Things aren’t always what they seem.
  35. Praise God, I’m glad that he enables me to look so much better than I feel.
  36. Thanks, that’s God’s joy shining through!
  37. Have you ever heard of the spoon theory?
  38. I am upright which is better the alternative
  39. Thanks, want to swap bodies for a few days?
  40. Thanks, I guess I am fortunate that I have an illness that can’t be seen.
  41. Thanks. I like good days.
  42. Want to step inside my skin?
  43. It’s amazing what a shower can do. I guess I am all cried out for now
  44. Thanks. . . I wish I felt it!
  45. I’m not complaining about my looks.
  46. I’m very good at pretending.
  47. Looks can be deceiving (and smile)
  48. Thank God for makeup!
  49. Thank you for caring. I try to act like I feel better than I really do.
  50. Thanks, I am trying to even though it will never go away. i just try to remember things could be worse.
  51. I’d be great if it wasn’t for the pain.
  52. I’d complain but who wants to listen.
  53. If I can’t feel good, at least I am determined to look good!
  54. I’m in good shape for the shape I am in!
  55. Smoke and mirrors!

What do you say when someone exclaims, “You look so good!”? Or what> would you say if you could say anything? (Keep it clean!)

If you struggle with people understanding that looks can be deceptive, you may enjoy Sherri Connell’s booklet, You LOOK So Good!

This is just one chapter of topics: I Never Know What to Say!; It Seems Like I Can Never Get It Right!; I Still Do Not Understand!; Couldn’t I just Try To Cheer Them Up?;But I Really Think My Suggestions Are Helpful!;So, Why Do I React That Way?; What “Discourages” Them?; What “Encourages” Them?; Being A Comfort In The Face Of Tragedy

Lisa Copen, Rest Ministries Founder


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