What Not to Say to Someone in A Wheelchair - Be A Good Human

by Michelle Devani

Sometimes we say insensitive things without thinking twice. It’s normal but it’s also completely avoidable. You might think that what you say is okay but your words can hurt.

This can happen when you’re talking to someone in a wheelchair. What you say could be taken the wrong way. It's different from What to Say When Someone Asks You to Tell Them Something Interesting About Yourself. What matters more is the other person's feelings more than yours. So to be more considerate, here are what not to say to someone in a wheelchair.

  • “I broke my leg before so I know how you feel.”
  • “Could you move a little faster?”
  • “With a little bit more effort, you might walk again.”
  • “For someone who’s in a wheelchair, you don’t look too bad.”
  • “Look on the bright side, you could be in a worse situation.”
  • “So what special treatments do you usually get for being in a wheelchair?”
  • “Ever try wheelchair racing with other people?”
  • “It must be nice to have someone carry you whenever you want to.”
  • “Hang in there, things will get better.”
  • “I know someone who’s also in a wheelchair. Would you like to meet them and be friends?”
  • “You must have special vehicles with people who drive you anywhere.”
  • “Well, at least you don’t have to stand up and exercise.”
  • “It must be really nice to be able to do everything while sitting down.”
  • “I wish I were you, you’re such an inspiration for everybody.”
  • “Have you ever wished you could walk?”
  • “What’s your story? Tell me why you’re in a wheelchair.”
  • “You look healthy and fine. Why are you in a wheelchair?”
  • “Bet you feel like a king sitting on a throne.”
  • “Other than the wheelchair, you look pretty normal.”
  • “Can you walk in your dream or are you still in your wheelchair?”
  • “I think you should be independent. Just because you’re in a wheelchair doesn’t mean you get to have special treatments easily.”
  • “Show me something that you can do in your wheelchair.”
  • “Must be hard for you to watch us, normal people, walking all around.”
  • “Have you ever felt different from everyone else?”
  • “It must be so tough for you, I’ll keep praying for you.”
  • “I wish you could walk. You’re missing out a lot in life.”
  • “Hey, is the wheelchair free or did they make you pay for it?”
  • “Dancing is fun. Just use your hands if you can’t use your feet.”
  • “Using your wheelchair must be like roller skating. Except you’re turning your wheels with your hands to move.”
  • “You look happy for someone who has to spend the rest of their life stuck in a wheelchair.”
  • “It must be easy for you to date people because they’ll sure have a hard time turning down someone like you.”
  • “Does the wheelchair give you a longer life expectancy or something?”
  • “You should think of this as a blessing. There must be a reason why you have to be in a wheelchair.”
  • “Are you sure you need that wheelchair? People fake everything these days.”
  • “Can you at least try to stand up? You might be lying to everyone about your disability.”
  • “Maybe you’re not trying hard enough. That’s why you still can’t walk.”
  • “Not having to walk to places must be a real treat, huh?”
  • “Take your medicines, they might make you walk again.”
  • “Your wheelchair seems cool. I’ve always wanted to try one.”
  • “You should join a community so you don’t feel lonely.”
  • “What do you do when you want to move somewhere but have no one to help you? Do you just roll over or crawl?”
  • “You and your wheelchair are one now, like a robot.”
  • “You should try out acting. There might be some roles that suit people like you.”
  • “Being in a wheelchair isn’t so bad. People would willingly do favors for you.”
  • “Maybe you did something bad in your past life. That’s why you end up in a wheelchair.”
  • “You should hire a trainer to make your muscles stronger. It could help you walk.”
  • “Your disease doesn’t sound too serious. I don’t think you need a wheelchair.”
  • “Other people have it worse.”
  • “I would advise you to complain less. Your situation doesn’t seem so bad.”
  • “People in wheelchairs do incredible things every day. You can be the next person who inspires us all!”
  • “Do you have any talent from being in your wheelchair all day every day?”

You wouldn't be happy if someone says these things to you, would you? Remember all these what not to say to someone in a wheelchair the next time you meet someone who uses it.

Michelle Devani
My name is Michelle Devani, and I've been helping people with their relationships since 2003. In 2017 I decided it was about time I started a blog on the topic, and since then more than 2 million people worldwide have read my relationship advice. Drop me a comment below to let me know what you think.