The first time someone uttered the words, “You still have hope” in response to my cancer, I almost slapped them. When an RN said these words — meant to comfort me — I raged. I was planning on a little more than hope.
But their mistake isn’t unique. With cancer becoming more prevalent and people living longer and healthier, the sick are now venturing into society more, encountering acquaintances in social situations.
Miss Manners never addressed how to handle the news someone you barely know has a life-threatening disease with etiquette in five-minute small talk. There is no precedent on the social savior fare for this situation, and I have experienced some flubs. I put them in my list of Things to Never Ever Do or Say When Someone Tells You They Are Sick: