• How do you react to people that are very optimistic when they try to give you encouraging words?

    Asked by MarktheMan on Tuesday, February 19, 2013

    How do you react to people that are very optimistic when they try to give you encouraging words?

    It always makes me feel awkward because I am not ready to be optimistic yet.

    8 Answers from the Community

    8 answers
    • Clyde's Avatar

      No one knows about my cancer, but I can relate to your question. Its the same thing as when people ask me when I'm getting married, or do I want to meet their cousin ("She's divorced and just CAN"T find anyone!" (Wonder why! And who do you think I am--any port in a storm?)).

      Say thank you and take it for the good intention with which it is meant, even if you don't feel that is an honest response. They mean well for you. Allow yourself to be thankful they care enough to try and make you feel better.

      over 5 years ago
    • ticklingcancer's Avatar

      I think I made this mistake with the husband of a friend who recently lost her fight to cancer. I remember them saying that she had two months and I made the comment "Dr's say that all the time and then 10 years later you're still here". I could tell that when I said it...I probably shouldn't have. Only because I could see it on his face that their 2 months were real. She passed away 2 1/2 months after this conversation. I think I have done in a few conversations. You try so hard to say the right thing and then think to yourself "did I really say that" or "I wonder if he thinks I'm a complete idiot". We mean well but sometimes just don't think before we speak.

      over 5 years ago
    • IKickedIt's Avatar

      Say thank you! It's so much nicer than hearing other people's gloom-and-doom stories. When I was going through treatment, I distanced myself from people who had to tell me all their ugly stories about their personal experiences with cancer. I wouldn't even answer the phone when a few of my "friends" called. So, nicely acknowledge that they care and change the subject if you feel awkward.

      over 5 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar

      When people say, "I know you're going to be just fine!" I say, "I hope you're right."

      over 5 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar

      I suspect that the people who minimize everything you're going through are often trying to reassure themselves, as much as they are trying to reassure you.

      over 5 years ago
    • bbay65's Avatar

      Hearing the optimism may help you reach the point of hopefulness. You'll need these good thoughts in your fight.

      over 5 years ago
    • carm's Avatar

      Sometimes the best method is by asking them to validate their claim. "Really, what makes you so optimistic, what do you base it on?" Often holding their feet to the fire will often make them think before they speak knowing you might quiz them on their comment. You have to remember that they feel just as awkward as you do but they feel obligated to give positive reinforcement. On this earth we are only human. This isn't heaven, no one expects anyone to be perfect here. When a patient tells me they are going to die I also ask them to validate their statement and sometimes hearing their own words repeated back and then asking them to provide proof of their statement makes them realize they are not stating a fact, just putting words to their emotions. These people are giving you a verbal hug and probably more because they need it more than you. They need to feel like they can contribute something to your comfort, to serve a purpose in your journey. Whether you agree or not is irrelevant because at the end of the day it will be their words that will comfort you more than your own despair. One sentence, maybe baseless and yet, worth more than you realize for all parties involved. You may not realize it now but in time you will wrap yourself in their words in your darkest moments and only then will you understand the value of those words.

      over 5 years ago
    • Carol-Charlie's Avatar

      Lets be frank. IF you're talking to someone who has or had cancer I don't think you can be wrong with what you say. I once told my step daughter's sister in law..(had BC and her hair was just growing back, when I was receiving chemo for my Ovarian and had a wig on) I saw her hair was about an inch and a half long.. I hugged her tightly and said. OMG you look lovely... I love the spikes... the style is you. My step daughter turned in utter shock and said in a most punishing way. We don't talk about that..... and was about to say more when her SIL said. Stop... She can say anything she wants to me... She by virtue of DX has earned that right. When she says it - it's because she understands!!!!! Thus we can smile sweetly and thank those who don't understand and hug gently those that do know and do understand!

      over 5 years ago

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