6 Things You Should Say to Someone With Fibromyalgia

Finding out a friend, family member or co-worker has fibromyalgia is complicated, however, despite our best intentions, we can often accidentally say something that may be offensive or hurtful. What the person really wants to hear is that you’re there for them and thinking of them.

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With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of things you should say to a person who has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia:

“I’ll do that for you!”
The “that” could be anything that you know the person would find helpful, from fetching groceries to giving them a ride to the hospital to cooking them dinner. Actions speak louder than words and even just one act of kindness can help them out immensely, especially if they’re feeling ill following a treatment session.

“What are you thinking about today?”
It can be difficult to judge what’s going through the mind of someone who’s living with fibromyalgia. They’ll have good days and bad days, so some days you can be their cheerleader, and on others their shoulder to cry on. Asking them what they’re thinking about opens the lines of communication, and could spark a conversation about upcoming treatment, how tired they are or maybe nothing to do with their illness, if they want to get their mind off the subject.

“What don’t you want to talk about?”
Your friend or loved one may be completely open about all aspects of their illness, or there could be some areas that they really don’t want to talk about. Respect this by asking what’s off limits. This way you’ll know that you’re not overstepping.

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“Thinking about you!”
This can either be said verbally or via a text message, email or Facebook message. It’s short and simple and lets the person know that you’re thinking about them and are in their corner without probing them for information.

“So this happened to me.”
It’s OK to talk about yourself and share good news about your life with your friend or loved one, so if you got that promotion, your kid did well at school or you just bought a new car — tell them. Firstly, they’ll want to hear about your success and secondly, it’ll probably be a welcome reprieve from all the fibromyalgia talk. You can also share the bad things as well, because they care about you as well.

Say nothing at all.
Sometimes words are not needed, particularly if you don’t know what to say. It’s better to give a hug, squeeze someone’s hand or simply listen.

MORE: Did you know that exercise can decrease pain in fibromyalgia patients?

Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


  1. Karen Stanley says:

    The list of things to say is great, except for the last one. Please do not hug, touch, or squeeze without checking to see how I am feeling and whether that well meant caress is wanted. Sometimes the most well meaning and gentle of hugs, pats, and squeezes can be very painful. Resulting in at least a flinch. I find myself trying so hard to be nice about it, since I know it is well intentioned. Please, just don’t put us in the spot of having to try not to offend you,
    or maybe even just toughing it out and hiding how much that hurt.

  2. Mar says:

    Ya…I’ve got a husband who “says nothing at all” and that infuriates me. Doesn’t acknowledge that I have said something about my pain or fatigue. Just acknowledge that I said something. His excuse…”I don’t know what to say. And when I do say something, you get mad.”
    i told him to google what to say to someone with a chronic illness…

    • Connie Wilson says:

      I have the same problem with my significant other. He does not really want to know how I am feeling. He does not know how to cope with his feelings and refuses to get help. It just brings me down, so I try to ignore it to the best of my ability. I have kept my Fibro secret for years from others primarily because they cannot comprehend what this disease is.

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