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Unsolicited Advice
40 Posts
So, I posted on my social media page (FaceBook) a message because it was National Cancer Survivorship Day the other day; see attached photo of my post. I received a not so kind response from someone who I thought was my friend saying “you should feel lucky, as you survived and some people don’t”. This upset me, greatly, because I’ve had cancer twice now in 17 months time. I was diagnosed, did chemo, radiation, surgery and then 6 months later found out I had cancer again and underwent surgery again. I also lost my dad and my favourite aunt to cancer in the last 4 years. My dad in 2017 and my aunt the same month I was diagnosed with breast cancer (was the same month she died from it). My mother has also had cancer several times and survived and I helped by being a caregiver to her in my 20s. I am not “new” to the cancer community. This person is aware of the above too, so it seemed like not even a passive aggressive comment, but just an aggressive comment to make to me. Over the last two years, I’ve had to cut some people out of my world and unfortunately today I had to do the same with this person. Some other not so pleasant parts of her personality have also made an appearance over the last couple of months as well and this just kind of threw me over the edge with her. I am wondering how others deal with “unsolicited advice” from other people. It’s odd because when I was diagnosed she was quite supportive; it’s amazing how we really don’t know other people when we think we do. I’ve had to deal with advice people gave me during treatments before. I was generally okay with it if it was from other cancer patients, or people who were care givers etc. who had been through what I went through (even then it usually rubbed me the wrong way because I know no one’s journey is the same so I always took it with a grain of salt). Most people who have had cancer generally know not to give unsolicited advice unless asked; it’s a rare few that do and most that have will say right off the bat that their journey isn’t your journey, but this is what they found. Honestly, it’s usually from people like this individual who’ve never had cancer (another reason her comment really pissed me off). Anyways, sorry for venting. I find this community to be very understanding and I’ve come here during times of distress or when I’ve needed support and advice (that I’ve requested in the first place). So thank you all in advance. I just wanted to get some better skills in dealing with these kinds of individuals in the future. 80061197-C2FE-407A-B0B7-93631D3BBAF4.jpeg
9 Replies
1073 Posts
AniD‍ Hello......I am glad you found our supportive community.....we "get it"....we "got it" too.....we truly understand......
Regarding "that person, with unkind words".......I would ( you asked....lol) simply keep them at arms length.......civil yet distant.....
I too have learned, over time, that "good friends" are not "so good" when you have received a DX of "that word"......
On a brighter note; I have made new friends, whom simply are kind and there and offering simple acts of kindness......
There ARE wonderful people out there. Steer clear of others......Keep yourself, and your soul, strong.
You already are.

Runner Girl
1688 Posts
Hi AniD

I'm sorry that so called friend responded in the manner that she did. Some people are just awful - perhaps she is having a rough time in life and just decided that you should too. Best to cut her off for the time being and let it go. Don't let her negativity affect you and the great job you're doing - you fought twice, you are awesome!!!

I had a woman who I considered my best friend. She walked away when I was diagnosed, in 2018. Just last month she reached out and texted me. She wanted to whine about the lockdowns. I told her there are worse things in life than a lockdown. I've not heard from her since and have no need to. I've banished all negative people from my life, I don't need the stress they bring.

I also posted on my FB about world cancer day - had a good response, great response from my friends that have had cancer too!

Runner Girl
257 Posts
AniD‍, you have been through a lot as a patient and caregiver. I am sorry for the loss of your father and aunt.

I viewed your attached Facebook post and it’s kind, thoughtful and considerate of everyone whatever their experience with cancer. I can’t imagine what caused that response. I am sorry you were on the receiving end of that.

Unfortunately, I have no helpful suggestions for these types of comments. Many people have been incredibly kind in the year since my diagnosis and then there are the times when I have been totally shocked by people’s comments.

Initially, I wondered if those shocking comments were due to people’s own fears and anxieties about cancer. I tried to be compassionate and considerate of that. With a couple people I said, “I’m not understanding that sentence in this context. What did you mean?” or “That just went over my head. Explain it to me so I can understand where you’re coming from.”

However, often their responses made it worse and I did not like the energy needed for those types of conversations-it can be exhausting-so now I disengage.

No need to apologize for venting. We’re here to listen and support you!
29 Posts
AniD, I totally undrstand it too. However if I don't want people's remarks, I wouldn't display my situation or talk about it openly. Please hear me out before you misunderstand.
I have a childhood friend I've known since 6 yrs of age. We are now both in our 60s. We have had both our fathers die from lung cancer, and her older sister as well. My friend has, in the past couple years been distant, and nasty to me (since my cancer in 2018) in her remarks not wanting to communicate. In my friends case, she told me once many years ago "everyone I care for dies" (I, meaning herself). So I think in my case she doesnt want to stay close because I might die too (of course, we all eventually will, but I think its her way of handling her own insecurities.
I feel very sad for her in not wanting to live in the now and she prefers to prepare for living in the future when none of us are here to still take some pleasure in our lives.
When I was growing up in my parents home, I learned quickly not to tell them anything they would /might criticize with. Once I moved out, and on my own at 19 yrs of age, it was my own business. So, in your situation, that person might have many more issues at hand any of us might know of. I would forgive and forget it. You don't need to carry that extra weight on your shoulders.
You have us now to help you.
Don't be weighed down by someone elses troubles.
Cynthia Mac
3194 Posts
AniD‍ , I’ve read your post and the responses. I’m inclined to agree (without knowing all the backstory) that your “friend” may have certain issues so it might be prudent to forgive and forget and also with the fact that if this is a pattern (as you indicate), it’s OK to “go all Elsa” on her and “let it go.”

Fortunately, FB gives us several options.

- You can, as suggested, reach out to her for clarification (but it doesn’t sound as if you’re amenable to that. Also, if this is a pattern, I wouldn’t condone it.)
- I’m not sure if you can hide a comment, but you can delete your post then re-post it, which will effectively remove her comment (woe be to her if she repeats her performance!)
- in cases where the comment is truly offensive, you can report it!
- you can “snooze” her for 30 days to offer up a break for yourself
- you can “unfollow” her, (but I think she’ll still be able to comment on your posts) if you just want her to “go away” without letting them know you’ve “gone away”
- and, in cases where the pattern of behaviour is really intolerable, you can outright “unfriend” the person (this tends to send a VERY clear message that you are DONE.)

I completely agree that keeping negative people in our lives does not serve our highest good (other than, perhaps, to teach us how to let go of negative people!) I have a friend who has a large family who said she “fired her sister.” I thought that was an interesting way of putting it, and it made me realize that if an employer wouldn’t put up with that behaviour, why should I?
20 Posts
What a jerk. Another so called friend to leave behind in a ditch
71 Posts
I have had a lot of unsolicited advice, some have never had cancer, and some have had cancer but cured, as mine is terminal.

But, what happened last week came from a friend and threw me for a loop,

I was in a dark place, I'm usually fairly optimistic, don't talk much about my terminal diagnosis, but, she came at me saying she had cancer 20 years ago and it could come back, I had a grim outlook, no one knows when they are dying, she could get hit by a truck, or friends could drop dead wit a heart attack, and she trivialized and made small what I am going through.

She now is adamant she was trying to cheer me up, and I took it the wrong way, and I was insinuating that she and my other friend present had perfect little lives.

Was I wrong to be so hurt? Did I take it the wrong way? I would like to make peace, but, not really sure I want that kind of attitude in my life, but we are part of a circle of 8 friends and it will ne very uncomfortable for them.

Not sure how to handle this, and advice and this is solicited would be helpful,
Dauntless (Dianne)
99 Posts
An attempt at "comforting" a cancer patient:
. . . .Well, we're all going to die!

The patient's response:
. . . Yes -- but only a few of us know when!

People say dumb things. The words pop out of their mouths, before the underlying thoughts are fully processed. Such things show a lack of thought, not evil intent.

. . . so try and be forgiving.

. Charles

5 Posts
That is such a hurtful comment... I’m so sorry you have to deal with that.

I struggle myself with hurtful comments from people but I have noticed upon reflection that’s it’s normally related to their issues and nothing to do with me...still doesn’t justify it and we have every right to be angry but sometimes that helps me

Much love to you ❤️
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