Friday, October 11, 2013

"Stupid" things to say.

"What are some of the stupidest things people have said to you as a cancer patient, survivor or caregiver?"

As of this writing there were 662 comments on that post and there will likely be many more by the time you read this. I found the comments interesting, mostly a list of things that people have said to them without realizing how it is being received by the patient or survivor. 

I re-posted this to my own Facebook wall with the following commentary:

Some interesting comments on this post. 

I don't recall anyone saying anything to me that I would consider stupid, and I don't agree with all of the commenters. Some things they call "stupid" I think are perfectly legitimate things to say. Perhaps "stupid" is in the eye of the beholder?

However, this may be useful for some to avoid unintentionally offending or getting into one of those awkward silence situations.

I also notice that almost all of the respondents are women, so maybe this is more of a gender thing. I know that women tend to analyze and internalize every word said to them to a degree that men generally do not.

What I can say is that such conversations are usually as awkward for the patient as it is for the person that they are talking to and there is always a concern about giving TMI. 

I prefer that people be blunt. Ask what you want to know, don't ask what you don't want to know, and if you don't know what to say, then just say as much, don't feel obligated to say "something". 

Some patients are so tired of talking about it that they would prefer to just have a conversation on any topic but their illness and would welcome a conversation with anyone who can put the elephant outside rather than leaving it in the room.

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