MinimalizingWhen a friend tells you they have cancer, you may think you’re being helpful by saying, “It could be a worse type of cancer” or “Don’t worry; everything will be fine” or “You don’t even look sick.” Although you’re trying to be helpful and positive, you don’t know how they’re feeling inside. They may be having a really bad day, and these comments may unknowingly make them feel minimized. What to do instead: Sometimes, it’s just best to listen. If they’re willing to share their feelings, let them express how they’re feeling.
Offering to HelpSomeone dealing with cancer has a TON on his or her plate. They are likely hearing a lot of “Let us know if you need anything at all.” While intentions to help are good, remember that your loved one might have so much going on that he or she doesn’t know where to begin to ask for help. Or, they may be too embarrassed to ask for help when they need it. How do you help? Just do it. If you’re at the grocery, give your friend a call and ask what they need or just pick up some essentials. Or if you do ask, get specific. Offer to pick up the kids from school or bring them to their after-school activities. These small generosities can help relieve a lot of stress.
Don’t Bring Up InsecuritiesWomen often feel their hair and breasts define their femininity. Asking questions such as “Are you going to lose your hair?” might stir up feelings unknowingly. Also, making jokes such as “I wish my insurance paid for a boob job” may not lighten the mood as much as you’d think. They’re fighting cancer. Not getting plastic surgery.What to do instead: This isn’t to say you can’t joke around—but maybe let your friend take the lead! And, above all, if you notice your friend is looking spectacular, be sure to mention it.
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