Years ago, when I was pretty sick and unable to leave the house, a friend of mine would call once in a while to say, “I’m going to Wegman‘s. Can I pick anything up for you?” That simple offer filled me with love. Most times I’d say, “No thanks, Julie, I’m all set,” but I’d hang up with a lighter heart and a smile on my face.
Lisa used Twitter in a very clever way. She asked her followers a question: What would be a good thing to say to a sick person? She says, “Oftentimes people are told what not to say. This is a great help in giving them an idea of what to say!” Here’s a sample of suggestions from the Twitter community for what to say to a sick person:
- I don’t know what to say, but I care about you.
- Do you just need to vent? I’m all ears!
- I really admire how you are handling this. I know it’s difficult.
- I’m bringing dinner Thursday. Do you want lasagna or chicken?
- Can I get your kids for a play date? My kids are bored.
- I can’t sit still. Got any laundry I can fold?
- I saw these flowers and thought they’d cheer you today.
- I have Monday free if you need me to run some errands or take you somewhere.
- Do you want me to come over while you wait for test results?
- You are amazing.
Like most loving gestures, it really is the thought that counts and is healing. Not all of the suggestions sent to Lisa would suit me and maybe not you either, but it doesn’t matter.
Helping healthy people be more comfortable approaching a sick friend or a friend who cares for a sick child, spouse or parent is a wonderful concept. It can be so awkward when we don’t know what to say. Will I intrude on her privacy? Maybe I’ll offend her by presuming she needs help. This hesitation can take days and weeks and before you know it our friend is either better or dying. Either way, we’ve lost an opportunity.
Please share your ideas of what to say to a sick friend and leave a comment!
photo courtesy of Beauty of Africa via Flickr
Elvira G. Aletta, PhD, Founder & CEO
Life gave Dr. Aletta the opportunity to know what it’s like to hurt physically and emotionally. After an episode of serious depression in her mid-twenties, Dr. Aletta was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease that relapsed throughout her adulthood. While treatable, the cure was often as hard to bear as the disease. Later she was diagnosed with scleroderma, another chronic illness.
Throughout, Dr. Aletta battled with anxiety. Despite all this, Dr. Aletta wants you to know, you can learn to engage in life again on your terms.
Good therapy helped Dr. Aletta. She knows good therapy can help you. That’s why she created Explore What’s Next.
Today Dr. Aletta enjoys mentoring the EWN therapists, focusing on coaching and psychotherapy clients, writing and speaking. She is proud and confident that Explore What’s Next can provide you with therapists who will help you regain a sense of safety, control and joy.
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