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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Advice From A Cancer Survivor: Platitudes Don’t Help

Here & Now Guest:

Author Bruce Feiler and his family. (Courtesy Kelly Hike)

Author Bruce Feiler and his family. (Courtesy Kelly Hike)

“You look great,” is one of several clichés we tend to fall back on when speaking to friends and family, who are dealing with severe illnesses. But best-selling author, and cancer survivor, Bruce Feiler says those types of platitudes just aren’t helpful. He recently wrote a column in the New York Times offering advice to people on how people can really help their friends in need.

Feiler says that while “thoughts and prayers” can be comforting, the expression has become tired, and he encourages people to abandon it in favor of something more genuine. As he told Here & Now’s Robin Young, “When all else fails, direct emotion is the most powerful gift you can give a loved one in pain.”


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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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