Talking with friends

You may find your friends are invaluable in providing emotional and practical support. If you are not close to your family or if they don’t live nearby, friends can be particularly helpful.

Some friends can listen to whatever you say – complaints, hopes, fears, wishes – without judging you, and without trying to cheer you up or giving advice.

Others may avoid you or seem reluctant to talk about the diagnosis. Let your friends know that it’s okay to talk about something other than cancer.

Quick tips

  • Set boundaries around how much you want to share – you can simply say you’d like to talk about something else.
  • Ask friends how they feel about the diagnosis – this gives them permission to discuss the situation.
  • Be as specific as possible when friends ask how they can help.
  • Change the topic if friends volunteer information you’re not comfortable with, e.g. alternative therapies, a friend or celebrity who has had a miraculous recovery.

This information was last reviewed in December 2016
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