Many people live their lives not spending or investing in their friends until it is often too late. True friendship should always be cherished and invested in no matter what the circumstances, but As October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we thought we would take some time to outline some helpful strategies for how to support a friend living with Breast Cancer. It’s unfortunately an extremely common disease and it’s a reality that many have to deal with. As tough as it can be, there are ways for you as a friend to contribute in a positive and supportive manner.
Here are some helpful tips to be there for your friend.
- Simply, be there for them.
One of the most important things about supporting anyone with a seriousness illness is to simply be present for them on a regular basis. It seems quite simple, but it’s essentially important too. While some may insist they need seclusion or time to deal with their issues, be respectful of their requests but try to make your availability known to them. You can begin by offering to attend or drive them to treatments or doctor’s appointments, or ask to come and make dinner for them a night at their house. Simply offering up your presence on a regular basis can be a gesture that is sustainable for your friend. Often one of the best ways to support someone is to continue to stand by and stand with them during their difficult and trying times.
- Just Listen
Probably the most important pieces of advice to give to someone looking to support a sick friend is to simply listen to them without offering response. Being an ear that they can depend on whenever and trust is important. While it is human nature to try to continue to offer positive reinforcement, sometimes the best thing is to sit and listen, and allow your friend to just decompress. You obviously want to communicate to them your support, and this can be done in non-verbal manners that allow for an uninterrupted conversation. Fight the urge to chime in and just be a sounding board for them. They’ll appreciate it.
- Go the extra mile
It’s important to simply remind your friend that you love them, they are unique and valuable, and you are willing to do things to make them feel that way. Rent their favorite movie and bring it over for an impromptu movie night, or buy them tickets to a game of their favorite sports team for a night out on the town. Look for ways to make them feel special and to do things for them that you wouldn’t normally do. Of course none of this is done out of sympathy, but only a friend being a friend.