For the most part, friends are genuinely concerned, but you may find yourself being asked questions that you don’t yet have answered. And then there are those friends that instead of consoling you—you end up consoling them (not that that is a bad thing, just awkward).
So here are a few suggestions to turn awkward into artful.
- Right up front tell friends you don’t have answers yet. This may slow down the questions, if not, repeat.
- Give friends permission not to ask about your treatments and condition each time they greet you. Sometimes friends can feel like if they don’t ask that you might think they don’t care.
- Remind friends that you want to keep up your normal routine as much as possible. They can still call to chat, invite you to bridge, or whatever activities you are capable of. Social isolation is a common problem because friends don’t know what to say or how to act. Help them out by clearly stating your preferences.
- Anticipate that when people haven’t been in a similar situation, they don’t understand, and when people feel awkward, they often say reckless things (either relating a sensational survival story or one of gloom and doom).
- Give friends “something” to do. Even if it is a little thing like picking up the mail or getting something at the grocery store. People like to feel like they are helping in some way so be specific.
Caringbridge.com is a private social site for keeping friends and family up to date without having to field numerous phone calls. The site is easy to use, and if you’re not all that savvy with computers, this is a perfect opportunity to give that caring friend a specific assignment.
If you have other suggestions on taking the sting out of sharing a health challenge, please share here.
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