What Sick People Most Hate to Hear From Their Friends

After three months on the road with my book tour, I've now heard everything!

When Too Much Is Too Much

According to traditional illness etiquette, we’re supposed to give our sick friends love, attention, company, concern and care. We’re supposed to keep inquiring about how they feel and what we can do. We’re supposed to show up without being asked, preferably with casserole in hand. All of which is good advice for some sick people. But not all.

What Not to Say to Grieving Friends

Whenever I write about how to be a friend to a friend who’s sick, my definition of illness also includes people who are “sick at heart,” especially those grieving the loss of a loved one.

To Visit or Not to Visit, That is the Question

There are lots of reasons to visit a sick friend, most of which are pretty obvious. We visit to show our love and concern, to provide care, support and comfort, and to offer help when needed. Less obvious and rarely discussed among friends are the reasons not to visit.

Ice Cream, Pillows and Candles

Simple creature comforts can make life easier for patients during difficult times: ice cream sundaes, scented candles new pillows, even reflexology (a foot massage) can go a long way toward pleasing a friend or loved one in pain.

There's a Support Group For Everything

When you're all together in the same boat, support groups make it easier to navigate the shoals of illness, treatments, and their aftermath.

When Your Best Isn't Good Enough

What happens when you feel you’ve given your all to a sick friend and your all is not enough? Worse yet, what if you have no idea that you’ve disappointed her?

What Not to Say to a Friend Who's Sick

Three years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Throughout my surgery and radiation treatments, I became intrigued by my friends’ and family’s diverse reactions to me, how awkwardly some of them behaved; how they misspoke or misinterpreted my needs; and how wonderful it was when some of them read me right.