If someone you know has just found out that they have cancer, you may be having trouble knowing what to say or how to express how you are feeling. You want to show that you care for him, while showing your support and encouragement. Writing a letter can be a good way to express yourself because you will have time to choose your words carefully. The tone of the letter will depend on the nature of your relationship with the person, however you should still make sure that the letter expresses what you are thinking clearly and simply.
Part 1 of 2: expressing support and care
Step 1. Say something
When you know someone who has just been diagnosed with cancer, you may feel numb or unable to handle the situation. It's okay to be sad and heartbroken about the situation and not know what to do, but it's important not to walk away from your friend. Even if you don't know what to say or how to react, make an effort to contact him and let him know you're there.
- You could start by sending a short note or message saying that you know about the news and are thinking of him, it might make him feel less alone.
- You might say, "I'm sorry this happened to you, I'm thinking of you." "
- If you don't know what to say, you can admit it. Say, "I'm not sure what to say, but I wanted to let you know that this touches me and that I'm here for you." "
Step 2. Offer your emotional support
Everyone is different, but in general, someone who has been diagnosed with cancer is likely to feel very lonely. It is very important that you make it clear to her that you are there to support her and to help her as much as you can. You could express your support by saying, “Please tell me how I can help you."
- Listening skills can make all the difference. Say something like, “If you want to talk, I'm here for you. "
- You could offer to listen to the person, but you should not force them to speak or give you more details about the diagnosis.
Step 3. Offer practical support
In your letter, you might want to express that you will be there to help as much as you can. It can be practical support, as well as emotional support. In some cases, practical help can be a very important help for a friend who is suffering from cancer. Offering them daily chores such as helping them take care of their children and pets or cooking and cleaning could really help this weakened or tired person.
- Keep in mind that this person may not want to make you do them a favor by asking you something.
- Try to help naturally, even if you are not used to it.
- For example, if you suggest picking up the children from school, you could say, “I'm still in this neighborhood when they go out, I could take them home. "
- Don't just say, "Would you like me to pick up your kids from school?" "
Step 4. Provide encouragement
It is important that you are encouraging and not pessimistic or downcast. Finding the right balance could be a bit difficult, as it's just as important not to be feigned optimistic or ignore the gravity of the situation. Accept the situation, but always express your support and encouragement.
You could say, "I realize this incredibly difficult time you are going through, but I am here to support you and help you through it in any way I can. "
Step 5. Use humor when the situation is right
Depending on the relationship you have with your friend, humor might be a good way to express your encouragement and support, while also helping them smile again. But that might be quite difficult to achieve through a letter, as you won't be able to judge her reaction and body language.
- Making a little joke about hair loss, for example, could be a great stress reliever.
- Use good judgment and when in doubt avoid making a joke in the letter.
- Since the person is undergoing treatment, it is better to focus on light pleasures, comedy being a good source of joy. Watch funny movies, go to a show or watch actor videos on the internet.
Part 2 of 2: Avoid being callous and lacking in finesse
Step 1. Remember that each cancer represents a different ordeal
You may know someone who has been through this ordeal, but you should not refer to that experience in relation to your friend. Avoid sharing the stories of people you know who have suffered from cancer and remember that every case is different.
- Rather, you can let your friend know that you are familiar with this disease and let them decide whether or not they want to ask you to elaborate.
- Saying something like, “My neighbor got cancer and he did well” will not reassure your friend.
- You might make him feel like you are distracting his attention, when you are just trying to express your support and solidarity.
- Even if your intention is to say comforting things, let the person speak and listen. It's the best way to find out what she needs.
Step 2. Don't say you understand what your friend is going through
You may think that you are expressing your support and solidarity with him, but unless you yourself have been through this ordeal, you don't really know how he feels, so don't say otherwise. If you say something like "I know what you are going through" or "I really understand how you are feeling" he might think that you are not really aware of the seriousness of the situation.
- If you try to compare your friend's diagnosis to a difficult time in your life or someone you know, it could sound like insensitivity.
- If you know someone who has had cancer, you could mention it and offer to introduce it to that person, but without forcing their hand.
- You could just say, “I have a friend who had cancer a few years ago and if you wanted to, I could put you in touch. "
- Make compassionate comments like "I can't imagine how hard this must be for you" or "if you need me I'm here." "
Step 3. Don't give him advice or judge him
You may think that you could counsel him on how to manage his condition or tell him how someone you know received alternative treatment. But your friend doesn't necessarily want to hear a long story about something that has little to do with them. Offering her advice on something that you don't have a very clear experience of can seem like a lack of finesse. Leave the advice to the doctors.
- This is also not the time to ask him questions about his lifestyle.
- Maybe your friend has been a smoker for a long time and you've told them about the risk of lung cancer countless times. It doesn't matter now. Focus on supporting her.
- Do not try to convince him that he should resort to some type of treatment, whatever your beliefs. Whether he has conventional or alternative treatment is his decision, not yours.
Step 4. Don't be blind optimistic
It's important to be positive, but you shouldn't say something like "I'm sure everything is going to be okay" or "You're going to be okay with it." Maybe you are just trying to show your support for her, but in fact your words risk being interpreted as a lack of awareness of the gravity of the situation. You may not know all the details of the diagnosis and prognosis.
- Don't push your friend into revealing more details about the prognosis than they've already done.
- Instead, take the time to learn as much as possible about this topic on your own.
- You could talk to friends or family for more information, but always be sure to respect your friend's need for privacy.
- Do not write a letter and then disappear. Real support is about sustained and sustained action, not just a few words.
- Don't change the way you behave and communicate with the person because they have cancer. Treat her like you always have.