Illness Etiquette 101
What not to do when a friend is sickConari Press.
Do not ask, "How are you?"
How do you think they are? You already know they've got something serious. Why are you asking? What are you going to do with the information? When they hear these words from you, what they will really be hearing is this: "Are you going to die soon?" If you don't already know the details of their illness, you probably don't need to know.
If you are looking for a conversation starter, instead say, "It's great to see you!" Or, "I've been thinking about you a lot lately."
If you mean it, go on and ask a much better question, "Is there anything I can do?" Then offer something specific. Say, "Could you use help driving your daughter to her lessons?" or "May I bring you dinner tonight?"
Do not offer unsolicited medical advice.
You may be burning to share your theory about which hospital is the best, which drugs or therapy saved Aunt Bea's life. But before you blurt it out, ask your friend's permission. For instance, you can say--in a non-leading way--"Are you happy with your hospital?" If they are, then button it up. If not, you can ask, "Would you like me to do some research on other possibilities, or offer you some suggestions?"