This is an easy one.
Don’t. Not because you don’t have the odd condition or two.
- No one wants to hear about medical stuff, which is invariably disgusting.
- You reduce yourself to a collection of icky body parts.
- Hearing you drone on reinforces the common misconception that all older people do is complain about their hemorrhoids and knee replacements. At 50, you’re not that old yet. (Plus, the good conversational habits you form now will stick around for decades, and you’ll become a delightful old person who steers the conversation away from kidney infections and laxatives.)
- There is no social setting where the words “leaky bladder” are welcome.
If, however, you insist on bringing up medical issues (i.e. everyone around you is complaining about their arthritis and you feel a sense of peer pressure) at least do it with tact and grace. That is…
- Include others in the conversation. (“You’re not eating much. Colonoscopy tomorrow?”)
- Keep the tone light. (“Gotta love those bunions, right?”)
- Be sympathetic. (“You look bummed out – is your heartburn acting up?”)
- Stay positive. (“Botox saved my life!”)
- Be generous. (“Anyone want some pills?”)
- Be educational. (“Those are the ugliest spider veins I’ve ever seen! I know a great doctor if you want to get them taken care of.”)
- Skirt carefully around certain mid-life buzz words. Don’t, for instance, utter the words “erectile,” “dysfunction,” or “How on earth did those matching bathtubs land in the middle of that field? It’s kind of like Stonehenge, don’t you think?” in mixed company.
- Likewise, avoid all mention of menopause. Unless you’re ready, willing, and eager to listen to your friends rattle on about hot flashes and insomnia for the next three hours. Which brings me back to my original advice.