You’ll find no shortage of research that shows how impactful friendship is on a person’s life. Whether it’s a positive outlook, a more hopeful attitude on life, or even a longer lifespan, friendships are important, and can even have a greater influence on psychological well-being than family relationships.
There’s even evidence that friendships can have a positive effect on a person’s physical health.
So, when a woman gets a cancer diagnosis, it might seem obvious that her female friendships could deeply affect her. But unfortunately, that can be a challenge for many women, due to the difficulties that some people experience around such news.
Some friends say the wrong thing. Others don’t say anything at all. And so, at a time when women need their friends the month, they can often experience a deafening silence.
There are a few things you can do to help mitigate the awkwardness that can arise between friends when a cancer diagnosis is involved.
- Move beyond your own discomfort. It’s not about you! Remember that this is about your friend, not about you. So, step out of your comfort zone.
- Saying something is better than saying nothing. Cancer is just awkward, so don’t be ashamed if you reach out and say the wrong thing. There’s a good chance your friend will correct you, and you won’t make the same mistake twice.
- Don’t ask, just do. Many people are uncomfortable asking for help, and will just keep saying “no” even when they actually need something. Show up with some flowers. Send a card. Bring her coffee (or wine). Remind her that you’re there, no matter how bad it gets.