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Responses to Silly Comments

So how might you respond to silly comments? Here are a few ideas:

1. A brief explanation:

There’s usually a whole host of inaccuracies in people’s perception of cancer and the recovery from it. But rather than addressing them all and ranting at them, focus on one. Provide one fact or feeling which explains why their views and comments are not accurate and don’t meet the reality of the situation.

Or:

You feel like you’ve said something, you’ve been honest and can leave it there.

You’ll also have done others a public service, hopefully they will think twice with their comments in future and have learnt something about the reality of cancer recovery.

2. The steely response

With any emotional intelligence, they’ll gather their comments aren’t the soothing ointment to your health. This is particularly useful for the stupid advice people can give, when you really want to respond with a sarcastic: ‘What a brilliant idea! Who knew you held a secret medical degree?! I’d have never thought of that.’

3. Dismissal

At the end of the day, you owe them no explanation. Pretend to have a phone call, rush off for ‘an appointment’, chat to someone else, and get out of that conversation! If you’re not close to them, it’s likely you won’t see them for a while. Is feeling frustration really worth the effort? Laughter is a great coping mechanism. Go find a good place for a bit of ‘healthy people’ bashing – an online support group, other cancer friends – those that will understand.

Priorities

Maybe you’re a glutton for punishment, but it is my firm belief that you should always prioritise your own well-being over others when facing silly comments. This is particularly so at a time you’re vulnerable and healing. With this in mind, priorities might be in this order:

  1. Personal emotional well-being: frustration at others is a waste of time only likely to make you feel bad.
  2. World lessons: is there something that you can easily share with others so they might take a step closer to understanding reality?
  3. The feelings of others: there are few truly evil people in the world – fact is that they are unlikely to have meant you pain.
View discussion 3 comments

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Discussion

Lindsay (not verified)

My response is 'I give a good impression of looking well' or if it's a crass comment, 'and your point is?'

Pauline Leasor (not verified)

How I can so relate to recovery from Chemotherapy, yes I get very fatigue, even though at times I look ok, changed my life so much, but I laugh laugh and more laughs that's why people around me think I am ok now NOT I may look Positive on the inside but......it's inside and the worry never leaves me, but the fight has to go on, I won't let this Cruel Disease take me, I am not ready so ensuring i am living life to the full, and kick the backside out it!!!!!

Chris Borland (not verified)

Its harder after your treatment ends , i have had so many comments of " Your better now " , ive learnt to ignore the comment , they have no idea of the worry and fear that comes with our lives after Cancer , too difficult to explain Xx