Manners Matter: Caring for an Ailing Friend

Dear Mary Pat,

My friend has been struggling with lots of health issues during the last couple of months, and they still don’t know what’s wrong with her. I know she’s frustrated and doesn’t want to talk about each and every doctor appointment, but I don’t want her to think that I don’t care by not asking questions. What’s the best way to ask her how she’s doing without pestering her?


Wanting to Help

Sister Bay, Wisconsin

Dear Wanting to Help,

Everyone responds to health problems differently. Some are going to want to give you every detail; others will hold back in sharing; and others will pretend there’s nothing out of the ordinary going on. The best way to help her is to listen. Genuinely ask her how her day was, and then pay close attention to what she says. She might not want to talk at that particular moment, but if she knows you’ll lend an ear, she’ll talk when she’s ready. Send her a card or an encouraging text just to let her know that you’re thinking about her. Invite her out to a movie or for a walk if you think she’s up for it. She might welcome the distraction.  

Good luck,

Mary Pat