Having a close friend or family member diagnosed with an illness can be a difficult time for you and that person. It’s important to them that nothing changes but you may feel uncomfortable or act differently when you are with them. If you have found yourself doing this then follow these tips to ensure your relationship stays on track.
Don’t be afraid to talk about it
Unless they have specifically asked that you don’t mention it, do not be afraid to talk to them about it. They may need someone that they can just open up to about what they are experiencing and the future of their illness. You can also express your fears to them and that should help take some of the weight off your shoulders. If they do not want to speak about it then try talking to somebody that you can trust. You may wish to talk to a doctor or a helpline dealing in that particular type of illness for a more anonymous approach. Just talking about their illness in more detail, with a professional, can help clear up any questions that you were too afraid to ask.
Continue as normal
It may be hard to try and continue as normal around the person with an illness, but it’s important that you do! If you two used to do something specific together on a regular basis then don’t let that change. Unless you have been told that they will not be participating in that hobby or event any more then take it as if they want to carry on as normal. It may be necessary to be slightly more cautious if it is something dangerous or could have an impact on their health, but try not to nag about it. They will have a good idea of what their limits are and what they feel they are able to do.
Give them a gift with a purpose
You may be feeling as though you want to shower that person with gifts and love now that you know that they are unwell. As already mentioned it is important that things continue as normal, so try not to go overboard as it may make them feel uneasy. If you are going to give them gifts then try to make them something that will help with their illness. It could be a brightly coloured walking stick that you know they’d love, or perhaps a medical bracelet that is beautiful and has a purpose. This will help them concentrate on the positives of their illness as opposed to the negatives, plus makes you seem like a great friend!
These tips are important to remember if somebody close to you has been diagnosed with an illness, whatever that illness may be. Trying to remain open, honest and relaxed about the situation will help them to do the same. You would expect them to do the same for you!