What does a friend say to a friend who is under the weather? A newly released book entitled “How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who is Sick” included some helpful suggestions. The author, interviewed on television recently, indicated three specific communication tips for these situations. I’m very fortunate to have friends who actually use some of these with me. Maybe they’d already read the book or perhaps they’re just naturally gifted. I know I’ll be communicating a bit differently from here on out.
- Do you want company now or not? (It takes energy to interact with visitors no matter how much you love them. Sometimes “company” via phone or text or email is perfect and saves your friends a trip for just a few minutes of visit. A choice is good. It’s a gift! Close friends called a couple of days ago and offered to drive out from the city for a visit if I was up to it. Exhausted from rehab, I asked if we could just chat on the phone for a bit. It was wonderful to know they would not be offended. People who genuinely love you are all about doing what works for you.)
- Tell me what to bring and when to leave. (Friends called to say they were bringing me a food basket and asked what I wanted in it. “You can tell us what you want and get what you like or you can risk liking only some of the contents.” I said what I wanted—and got it. Great option! We had a fun visit and I didn’t even need to tell them that it was time for them to leave so I could do my next rehab session. They left before I was tired. Great perception!)
- Tell me what’s helpful and what’s not. (Every person has things he/she prefers to do versus those that it would be helpful for others to do. Be clear about what you need and want and be willing to state that. In my case, offering to do my hair is unhelpful, so is suggesting having oil rubbed on my feet. Picking up my mail, on the other hand, is beyond helpful! Most good friends would rather do what’s helpful to you instead of guessing!)