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What do I say to people that ask about my scars without making them uncomfortable?

229 Answers
Last Updated: 12/17/2021 at 3:30am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
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Alex DS Ellis, MA, LMFT

Marriage & Family Therapist

Feeling depressed or anxious can be so overwhelming. I want to help you feel better and be able to enjoy life. You are not alone and you deserve emotional support.

Top Rated Answers
Anonymous
June 23rd, 2016 7:53pm
Honestly, if they are asking about something personal like that, they shouldn't be uncomfortable with your answer. If they are, they have no business asking
UntilThen
October 13th, 2016 3:08am
Well I think your answer should vary based on the age of people asking. If a child asks you I often tell them they're from a hard time where bad things happened and it's hard to talk about. They usually don't pry too much after that. If it's teenagers they probably know what they're from and are just wondering how open you are about it. This can be because they are looking to be cruel or because they are going through the same thing and want to know if you'll talk about it, so there you sort of have to make a judgement call on how kind you think this person is. For adults just explain vaguely saying something like "I was going through a hard time". If they ask more questions keep answers short. They will be able to only ask as much as they're comfortable hearing. I hope this helps :)
Anonymous
June 23rd, 2016 7:57pm
If people ask about your scars it can be hard to explain as a lot of people judge. If you think the person is a genuine, down to earth and you trust them you could just tell them. But if it is someone who isn't so down to earth you could just say you have had a hard time and don't want to talk.
RememberYouAreNotAlone
July 8th, 2016 9:16pm
Scars are something that people without them will never understand. For this reason it is hard to explain to these people what they mean to us and what they stand for. Personally I answer like this "these scars are something that show how strong of a person I am. They show how hard i've fought to get where I am now; and even though I may not have gotten to the light at the end of the tunnel, these scars are proof that I am trying"
Anonymous
February 28th, 2018 7:22pm
I say that I fell down when I was taking a walk in the forest and the twigs scratched my wrist, or I say that my cat scratched me.
survivor371
June 23rd, 2016 6:54am
you could tell them that you had issues with yourself in the past and that you have changed. just because you have scars doesnt mean you should be afraid to answer someones question. it was thier choice to ask and you should answer honestly :)
CaringNewt
June 24th, 2016 9:33pm
It depends if you are comfortable with telling them or not, if you think it's private just simply say "It's a bit private, I'd prefer not to tell anyone, I'm sorry". Feeling awkward typically isn't your fault so don't worry about it.
zaatarHoney
January 5th, 2019 11:26pm
Truly, there isn’t any one way to say it. I respond differently depending on who I’m speaking to. I’ve had kids I nanny say “Owwie? You got hurt?” This breaks my heart, but I say “Yes, but I’m okay now. So don’t worry.” Most adults won’t ask. Very few might. If they’re asking, it depends on how close to them I am. Are they someone I work with? Is this a close friend? Is this a potential partner or someone I’m dating already? Then, it comes down to- what are YOU comfortable with? Personally, unless I am in a low space and need to vent, I usually keep it neutral. I speak about it without emotion, and then switch the subject if necessary. But truly, there are definitely approaches for everyone. Trust that, you’ll always say what you’re meant to in each moment- regardless of the reaction. But remember that- your scars don’t make you any less lovely, or worth knowing. You have to feel that in your whole heart because it’s the truth. ♡
FizzyLemonade
August 21st, 2016 8:23pm
You could tell them that it's personal and that you'd rather not talk about it, or if you feel that you trust them tell them the truth. You may find that they want to help and support you.
Ady23
April 5th, 2017 4:56pm
The important thing is to not make yourself uncomfortable. If telling them how you got the scars would make you uncomfortable then politely say that it is personal and ask to move on. If you feel comfortable talking about it and are ready for a conversation on it, then go ahead and tell them. It is really your decision.
Anonymous
June 23rd, 2016 6:37am
Answer their question with the understanding that what you are doing to yourself is not normal behavior. They have a right to be curious about it especially if you are displaying it openly. And so long as the query is done in a respectful way, just answer them and maybe enlighten them to your condition. Cutting is difficult for lay people to wrap their arms around and some face cringing is to be expected.
lina713
June 25th, 2016 12:53pm
What is said all depends on whether you feel comfortable telling them or not. Forget if it makes them uncomfortable, focus on yourself, and how it makes you feel. If they're prepared to ask a personal question, they really shouldn't feel uncomfortable with the answer- generally only people close to you ask personal questions such as this.
Anonymous
July 7th, 2016 8:35am
Tell them they are your battle scars and how they convey how strong you are for pushing past your dark times
Implode
August 9th, 2017 2:04am
What I say, is that it was an accident from something, and a realistic answer! Make sure you tell everyone the same thing. If lying is uncomfortable for you, you can just say I had a rough phase, etc. Sometimes being honest with your past is necessary if it's a friend! If it's just some random person, no need to tell them something you don't want to.
Anonymous
April 6th, 2019 1:37pm
I have scars myself so I know how uncomfortable and awkward this situation can be at times. I've had my younger cousins and brothers ask the question, to some friends who don't know a lot about self-harm. What I usually do, depending on the relationship with the person, is to just tell them. I have only told some of my friends when they have asked and not my cousins or brothers as they're too young, or were at the time of asking, to hear things like that. Your scars are nothing to be ashamed of, if someone asks about them and you don't want to talk about it or tell them, just say "it's personal". People tend to leave their questioning from there, if not and they ask something like "why", you can just say you don't want to talk about it. I hope this helps :)
kindWhisper16
July 27th, 2016 2:17pm
You can say what you want, you should not have to change who you are because someone feels uncomfortable, you are you, and they are not you, they dont have your body, and the scars you have left make you well you and they should understand that, I am always here for you x
Lovelycats7134
October 30th, 2016 5:49pm
I think you should tell them . " I had a rough past and im still recovering from it," I think that should know something happened before.
SlowHealing
December 31st, 2017 4:58pm
You could tell them that each scar is a mark of the problems you have faced and conquered! :) Be proud of your scars!
Summerwish
July 14th, 2018 7:29am
Tell them that you were in a car accident or something like that you don’t have to tell them what they are really from
Lexithelistener
June 29th, 2016 10:40pm
If it is a family member or friend, you could say you're not comfortable talking about it then change topics or would like to speak to them in private about it. If it is a stranger, tell them you do not feel comfortable in telling them and change topics
Anonymous
July 14th, 2016 10:28am
It depends on who the person is, some people could have gone through the same thing! Or maybe not. It may feel uncomfortable but being honest is the best way to go. After you explain where the scars are from, you can explain how you got help or how you don't do it anymore.
Anonymous
September 26th, 2018 1:27pm
Well that sounds incredibly rude on their part. I'd just say that I'd rather not talk about it, and if they press the issue, just keep saying you'd rather not talk about it or you're not comfortable talking about it. It's really none of their business to comment on or ask about, so it's not like you have to tell them anything. You could also brush it off like, "That's in the past now," and then quickly change the subject. If they seem concerned you might tell them you're better now, but if they're just being rude tell them you don't like to talk about it and move on. Either way that's pretty rude on their part, I'm sorry that happens.
Anonymous
June 26th, 2016 4:37am
Say to them that you've been through a lot. That in truth that you've suffered from specific things you don't want to say sothey aren't uncomfortable.
Millichidulinas
July 13th, 2016 12:16pm
If you trust people you can tell them the truth. I mean, you can try to say what happened and then talk about something else or go like "but I don't do it anymore" and stuff.
Alexisheretohelpyou2
July 21st, 2016 6:23pm
Well, you don't have to say anything really, you can tell them you'd prefer not to talk about it. You have overcame an obstacle in your life, and you shouldn't worry about making them uncomfortable. If they question it in the first place, it's their fault that they get uncomfortable. You are a warrior, those are your battle scars; don't worry about what they will think.
Armanta
July 23rd, 2016 11:36am
The main thing is for you to feel comfortable. If you feel as though you would like to tell someone close to you about the scars ,if they've asked, then by all means do it. And with regard to making them comfortable before you talk to them about it it might be worth just telling them it might be sensitive and asking if they are alright with it. The same goes for telling anyone else as well I suppose. Just make sure you are comfortable with telling them, you don't need to tell them about it if you don't feel like doing so, you can politely ask them to drop the subject as you do not feel comfortable. And if you do, just ask them if they are alright with talking about certain topics whatever they may be.
Anonymous
August 14th, 2016 9:04pm
Tell them that people deal with stress in different ways and that you decided to go down a more negative route that other people; it's like smoking because you cut as a release for something that has hurt you or that's bothering you and smokers smoke for the same reasons.
Anonymous
August 20th, 2016 3:43am
Just be honest with people, they brought it apon themselves to ask you about them therefore you should be real, if it makes them uncomfortable next t ime they will remember not to ask questions to things they shouldn't be asking..
Anonymous
October 19th, 2016 8:53am
If you feel they would feel comfortable, tell them the story. If you feel it would make them feel uncomfortable, you can just tell them a general truth, like "Oh, it's nothing. I got it when I was a kid."
HopieRemi
January 13th, 2017 3:41am
There are several things that you can say when someone asks you about your scars depending on their age. For a child, you can make up any type of story, and they are normally satisfied with it. You can say the truth with someone who would be understanding and nonjudgmental. You also have the choice of politely telling them that you would rather not talk about it. How do these ideas sound to you?