What can you do to help?

Shelley Lewis, in her book about breast cancer, which we mentioned in our last blog post, has some good suggestions for ways you can help a friend who has a major problem.

In Five Lessons I didn’t Learn from Breast Cancer (And One Big One I Did), Lewis makes these suggestions.

Don’t ask, “Is there anything I can do to help?” When a friend is feeling overwhelmed, Lewis stresses, that question may be too broad. Instead, make concrete offers that are specific. What can I bring you to eat? When can I walk your dog? When can I take care of your children?

Call or send a card or e-mail message regularly. “It’s amazing how much a quick phone call can do to restore spirits when they begin to flag,” Lewis says.

Listen. “Please,” Lewis says, “think twice before offering any advice that was not requested.”

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