General Question

nuclear's avatar

How to say "get well" without sounding contrived?

Asked by nuclear (254 points ) November 24th, 2012

At University a professor I am close to on a professional basis has been away on sick leave. I know that it is her partner who is very ill, but this is not something that has been announced.

Anyway, how can I wish her well without being specific? Would it be appropriate to send a Christmas card or something similar? I do not have her address and they will not be coming in to University any time soon.

I think it would be nice to say something just so she knows she is being thought of – or maybe I’m wrong.

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11 Answers

hearkat's avatar

Is the professor aware that you know it’s her partner that’s ill? If so, you can say it as directly as you want. If you want to keep it less personal, just send kind thoughts and best wishes to “you and your loved ones”. If you think it’s appropriate within the scope or your professional relationship, you could include some cheery flowers or plant, or maybe some small gift based on likes or hobbies of theirs, or some yummy treat that they might enjoy.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Keep it neutral and distant polite. I would go along the lines of wishing her and hers well and hoping the new year will bring them good health and prosperity.

gondwanalon's avatar

Sometimes the kindest thing to do is to say nothing unless the subject is presented to you directly. If so then perhaps just say that you wish her good health. My boss was just this month diagnosed with colon cancer and she has had two different kinds of breast cancer in the past. I found out because everyone is talking about it. However I’m keeping my mouth shut until my boss tells me about her condition.

bookish1's avatar

It’s a nice thought. I agree with @ZEPHYRA , to keep it distant but polite, unless you are close with this professor. It’s never crossing a boundary to let someone know you are thinking about them; it just matters how you do it. Unless you know for sure that she is a Christian, I advise against sending a Christmas card. Can you look up her home address in the school directory? I did that once to send my adviser a card when he had just lost his mother. I would suggest sending her a neutral card that conveys “thinking of you” or “best wishes.”

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@zephyra. Excellent advice. It’s best not to describe the circumstances, but to allude to them while sending good wishes. The professor will have no problems understanding the message and should be very pleased to receive it.

gailcalled's avatar

MY personal experience has been that when I was in severe emotional or medical crisis, I did want to expend any energy on colleagues or acquaintances and their good wishes, no matter how well-intended.

zenvelo's avatar

How about saying, “Thinking of you and hope things are getting better. Let me know if I can be of help, and I hope to see you soon.”

Write it on the inside of a blank card with a nice picture on the front.

gailcalled's avatar

Edit; I mean, “I did not want to expend any energy on colleagues or acquaintances and their good-wishes, no matter how well-intended.”

marinelife's avatar

I would send a card saying “You are missed. Thinking of you.”

wundayatta's avatar

Some people prefer contrived. Some people prefer hallmark card banalities. Some people prefer other banalities.

I prefer real feelings. What are you really thinking about me? I’d like to know, if it’s good. If you miss me or are concerned about me or my spouse, I want to know.

So we’re all different. All you can do is say what you want to say, and leave it at that. You can’t double think this without making it contrived. You must be sincere, and hope they appreciate it. If not, too bad. You guessed wrong. But my feeling is that they will like it if you sound sincere and don’t write all those stupid banalities that most people write. But that’s just me, and I’m not generally thought of as dispensing conventional social wisdom. For that, see @marinelife or @gailcalled. I’m sure they have much better advice than I do. Shorter, for sure.

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