You know the type. She stops by (when you want to nap) with a casserole (which you’ve told her makes you nauseous). Then you listen to her umpteenth tale of a friend/uncle/cousin twice removed who cured his cancer with jelly beans and baking soda. By the time she leaves, you don’t need a nap… you need a vacation! Meet Debbie Downer (Dennis for the guys). Those are the folks who promise to drive you but forget to show up. Who ask nosy questions, offer useless advice, and talk endlessly – about themselves. How can you spot a Downer? Ask yourself how you feel after they leave or get off the phone. If you’re wiped out, you’ve got a Downer. Many recent articles have cautioned healthy people to keep toxic people out of their lives. It’s even more critical for people battling cancer. Because these people are not just Downers, they steal what you most need: your time, energy, and optimism.
How can you get them out? Tactfully – but firmly. And if it’s too hard, ask a friend to do it for you. Just do it quickly. Now you will have time for the people who lift you up. The friend who makes you laugh, the neighbor who brings groceries, the best friend who’d drive through a blizzard to get your meds. And, of course, a sister or brother who lets you cry without trying to fix you. These are the people who will improve your quality of life.
Hopefully, you’re also blessed with people who want, and are able, to help. How do you handle unwanted advice or energy-draining acquaintances? We would love to hear about your experiences, please share your thoughts.
Wishing you the best of health, The Belong Team