We all look forward to talking and catching up with our friends. However, the dynamics change whenever a friend becomes seriously ill. Sometimes it becomes hard to know what to say, and more importantly, what NOT to say. Here are a few good tips to consider that may help ease the anxiety when talking with a sick friend:
- Before you meet with her, take some time to prepare yourself for the fact that your friend may look differently from the last time you saw her. The worst approach is to gasp or mention anything about her appearance, especially if it’s been altered in a negative way. Be prepared to greet her with a sweet, warm hug and let her know how great it is to see her. Treat her as you would any of your other friends, even if her appearance has changed.
- DO NOT share stories regarding other people you know who have been in similar health situations! Although these comparisons may be well-intended, they can instigate a range of emotions for your friend and potentially make her feel bad. Listen to her as she shares her situation, but RESIST the urge to share health stories about others.
- Be warm … but not overly cheerful. Ask questions about anything EXCEPT the disease. Talk about whatever is going on in your life with home, work, hobbies, or maybe even a good book you’ve recently read. Many times, sick people miss the simple chitter-chatter about day-in and day-out activities because so much of their daily activities are focused on their illness.