How to Fake Sick


I woke up this morning, fabulous as always, with a sore throat and stuffy nose. Great, I thought, here comes a day full of moping around the house while I hack out my lungs. In a way, it’s nice to be sick because it gives me a legitimate excuse to do what I always do – absolutely nothing. I also get some sick-role-sympathy from others so I can manipulate them into making me tea or buying me food or getting things for me (mwahaha this is why I should never have real power).

Unfortunately, my cold had other plans and ditched me halfway through the day. Sorry my company wasn’t good enough for you. So now here I am with no actual excuse to take a badly-wanted day off tomorrow.

If you’re ever in the same predicament as me, have no fear – I’m kind of a pro at faking sick. Not that I should brag about that.

This came from many lazy years of not wanting to go to school. Although if I have to be honest, I wasn’t that bright as a kid. Like, I was an idiot. I thought you got a cold from being cold (logic!) so sometimes I would toss my blankets aside, spend the night shivering on my mattress, and pray that I would wake up with a fever or at least a small cough.

No, that’s not how it works, Little Me.

Since then, my methods for trickery have evolved with slightly more sophistication. I learned that it’ll never work if you explicitly state that you are sick – you will get zero sympathy. Instead, act like you only have days to live and then when someone asks “Are you OK?” you mumble”Ya, ya, I’m *cough* fine” and make sure to follow up with some ghastly symptoms. If you ever need to convince the people you live with that you are indeed incapacitated by a cold, here are some ways to do it:

How to Act Sick

Step 1. Excessive coughing: The most basic sign of disease. Be careful not to overdo it. Simply insert a disgustingly raspy wheeze every *cough* few words *cough* or so.

Step 2. Groaning and moaning: A fan of The Walking Dead? Always wanted to be an extra on the show? Here’s the perfect opportunity to practice!  Channel your inner zombie and groan as if you have never been more nauseated and/or hungry for brains. Amazing, now everyone will think you are on the brink of death.

Tip: Use a power combo of Step 1 and Step 2 for extra authenticity (like this: COUGH cough mooOOOoan). They will feel your pain.

Step 3. Rubbing your temples: Gently massage your temples while squeezing your eyes shut as if you have just had a flashback of your entire life of regret. Maybe by doing so you will induce an actual headache.

Step 4. Mouth-breathing: Nothing says “My nose is so stuffy” like dramatically  inhaling and exhaling through your mouth. Think Darth Vader. You know you’re doing it right when people take out their lightsabers.

Step 5. The Shuffle: Yes, the infamous shuffle to the kitchen for breakfast. Slightly hunched over, arms crossed together, feet barely functional. Try to walk like you are carrying the heavy burden of all your lies.

The goal is to be so convincing, you’ll even fool yourself.

Once you’ve fallen for your own lies, you can proceed to the next step. Say you have work and need to phone up your boss? Don’t even think about mentioning the word “cold” – they’ll see right through that. “Suck it up,” they’ll say. The best excuse is a fine balance of giving enough details so that they won’t think you’re faking but also not being too elaborate and dramatic that they’d want to see a doctor’s note. So, no bubonic plague.

Try to go for these great alternative excuses that will at least get you some points for creativity, such as the TMI excuse. Think of things that will make your employer want to end the conversation as quickly as possible. Vomiting, diarrhea, body fluids in general.

Because your one day-off is worth more than your dignity.

If you want to be proactive and put in that extra A+ effort, think about some long-term excuses. Build a reputation for yourself as being clumsy, or unlucky, or generally accident-prone. That way, when your boss hears about your unfortunate accident at the supermarket where the giant display of pop cans collapsed on you and then some customer ran over you with their shopping cart as they tried to escape the sudden fire that erupted in the deli section, they won’t blink twice. They won’t even be suspicious enough to ask for that doctor’s note.

Okay, in all seriousness, I’m not condoning lying. In the end, elaborate excuses take up more energy than simply just going to work or school. But I also think it’s good to sometimes take a day to step back, get in some serious R&R, and check your emotional/mental well-being. Just because your body doesn’t need to rest doesn’t mean your brain doesn’t.

What’s your favourite excuse to use? Or maybe you’re a good, honest person unlike me and never miss an opportunity to be a productive member of society. In that case, I should get some tips from you.



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