Visiting someone in the hospital?

I have a question: today an acquaintance got in a really bad car wreck, their car is totaled & they are in the hospital. Although, I am not really cool with this person, I still feel really bad and feel obligated to go and visit them…problem is if I go I would have to spend a good couple of minutes there and there’s not really much me and this person have to talk about(besides the accident)…so it would feel extremely awkward if I decide to go. Would it look really bad if I don’t go? Or should I just send something to let her know that I thought of her?

When deciding these things I usually imagine the situation reversed. If you were in a similar car accident (and he wasn’t, obviously), would you want him to visit you?

Personally I think hospital visits are for friends and family, not acquaintances, but maybe that’s just me.

I agree with the above- if you’re not cool with them and don’t have anything to talk about, why do you feel obligated to go visit? Just send a card if you want.

If you know her family, you might contact them to see how she is doing and if there is anything you can do to assist them. People are in the hospital to recover, so it’s actually not a bad thing to stay away. Too many visitors can hamper recovery.

The couple of times I’ve been in a hospital the last thing I wanted was to have to entertain a bunch of people.

A quick pop in, a fast, “How you doing, get well soon,” and get on out of there and leave them alone is how it should be handled. Five minutes tops, and that’s for family.

Just to go against the tide here: I’ve been in hospital for longish periods a couple of times, once following an accident and once for an elective operation. Every time I’ve been in I’ve been desperate for visitors. It’s so boring and depressing. Visitors cheer you up. They remind you that there is a world out there, they fetch stuff and do things for you that you don’t want to bother the nurses with (NB I’m talking about NHS nurses). At the very least they are a distraction from the boredom and the pain. In fact if I had no visitors at visiting time it wasn’t long before I began to feel distinctly unloved. No 5 minute visits either, I like to talk and whether they liked it or not any visitors were going to hear about my accident/operation(s).

You don’t say whether this person has family or an SO to visit them or whether they are relying on friends and acquaintance’s for contact with the outside world. If the latter then I would say visit for sure. Is there a mutual friend you could go with to minimise the potential for awkward silence? At any rate find out if someone is coordinating visits and take their advice.

I’d send a card at least to wish them well.
When you say you’re “not cool” with them, I’m not sure if you’re saying that you guys are just not very close or if there is actually animosity between you. If you just don’t know them well, I think it’d be a nice gesture to stop by and briefly say hi. If you actually don’t get along, I’d just stick with sending a card as a gesture of goodwill.

You don’t have to be a close friend to feel sad that they got hurt and to sincerely wish them a good recovery. This might best be expressed through a card to start with. If there’s some major injury, the first few days might not be the best time for any visitors.

It they’re going to be there a while, then after a few days a visit might be nice. I wouldn’t worry about it being for just a few minutes. If they’re not feeling terribly well, a very short visit is a blessing (compared to a long one). Even if they’re feeling fine, given that you’re not best buddies, no one will hold it against you to make it a short visit. Just showing up with sincere concern is admirable.

You know, I’ve never thought of it that way…maybe I should stop by and see how she’s doing


Yea, I would so I should probably go.

Thanks to all who responded, I might swing by the hospital sometime this week!

I actually don’t even like family to come to ‘visit’ if I’m in the hospital. Especially unannounced. If I’m in a hospital bed, I’m probably there for a reason, dozing in and out of sleep, and trying to recover. I do not want to spend any time feeling obligated to entertain guests.

Is it possible to ring first or send a message via family or something? It seems some people really don’t want to be bothered, and others would really like the company. And either way, it’s always better to not be surprised if it might be awkward. Bringing a friend to help the conversation is also a good idea. I’d rather two people turned up and chatted awkwardly and left than that they didn’t come (if I wanted to see people at all).

Maybe you could go with some of your mutual friends. That way you don’t have to think about what to talk about the whole time.

The couple of times that I have been hospitalized, I lived for visitors. Hospitals are incredibly boring, and visitors can make time go by a lot faster for a little while. It was pretty common for people that were just acquaintances to visit and I appreciated every single one.

As others have said, if you do visit, make the visit brief. Not only is this person feeling like shite, but all kinds of embarrassing things like emptying the catheter’s container, assisted walks to the bathroom, and bandage checks are happening all the time.

Frankly, I wish everyone had left me alone while I was in the hospital. But I was only there for two days.