Intentionally Supporting a Friend: Navigating Cancer Together
Supporting a friend or loved one who has been diagnosed with cancer can be overwhelming and emotionally taxing. It’s important to remember that, as a friend, you have the power to make a significant impact on your loved one’s experience. However, it’s crucial to be intentional in your support to ensure that you provide the most effective and beneficial assistance possible.
Practice active listening
One of the most important things to keep in mind when supporting a friend with cancer is to listen actively and be present. Cancer can be isolating, and many people feel they are facing their diagnosis alone. You can help your friend feel heard and understood by actively listening and being present. This can be as simple as asking how they’re feeling, being available to talk, or simply being there to hold their hand.
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Respect their boundaries
Another critical aspect of supporting a friend with cancer is respecting their boundaries. Everyone’s experience with cancer is different, and what one person needs or wants may not be the same as another. It’s important to ask your friend what they need and to respect their wishes. For example, if they don’t want to talk about their diagnosis, please respect that.
Be mindful of the language you use when talking to your friend about their cancer. Avoid using language that minimizes or trivializes their experience. And don’t make assumptions about what they are going through. Instead, use language that is inclusive, empowering, and non-judgmental.
Offer practical support
In addition to emotional support, you can also provide practical assistance. For example, you can offer to drive your loved one to appointments, help with grocery shopping, or help with cooking meals. These small acts of kindness can make a big difference in the life of someone going through cancer treatment.
Be consistent when supporting a friend
Finally, remember that supporting a friend with cancer is an ongoing process. The need for support doesn’t end when treatment ends. The road ahead is often long and difficult. Be patient and understanding, and continue being there for your friend through all the ups and downs.
Supporting a friend with cancer is a challenging but rewarding endeavor. Being intentional in your approach can provide the most effective and beneficial support possible. Remember to listen actively, respect boundaries, use inclusive language, offer practical assistance, and be patient and understanding. Your support can make a real difference in the life of someone going through cancer treatment.
Learn more about supporting a friend:
- Learn how to b-there for your friend with cancer
- Download the Supporter Roadmap
- Follow us on Instagram
- Learn more about the b-present Foundation