How to be a Friend to a Friend Who's Sick

Front Cover
PublicAffairs, 2013 - Biography & Autobiography - 283 pages
17 Reviews
Everyone knows someone who’s sick or suffering. Yet when a friend or relative is under duress many of us feel uncertain about how to cope.

Throughout her recent bout with breast cancer, Letty Cottin Pogrebin became fascinated by her friends’ and family’s diverse reactions to her and her illness: how awkwardly some of them behaved; how some misspoke or misinterpreted her needs; and how wonderful it was when people read her right. She began talking to her fellow patients and dozens of other veterans of serious illness, seeking to discover what sick people wished their friends knew about how best to comfort, help, and even simply talk to them.

Now Pogrebin has distilled their collective stories and opinions into this wide-ranging compendium of pragmatic guidance and usable wisdom. Her advice is always infused with sensitivity, warmth, and humor. It is embedded in candid stories from her own and others’ journeys, and their sometimes imperfect interactions with well-meaning friends. How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who’s Sick is an invaluable guidebook for anyone hoping to rise to the challenges of this most important and demanding passage of friendship.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

This is excellent and straightforward advice. - Goodreads
This book is full of wisdom and practical advice. - Goodreads
Pogrebin muddies her helpful advice in two ways. - Goodreads

Review: How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who's Sick

User Review  - Shruti - Goodreads

3.5 stars The book How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who's Sick by Letty Cottin Pogrebin was recommend to me by my therapist when we were discussing how hard it is sometimes for me to be a good friend ... Read full review

Review: How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who's Sick

User Review  - Cori McGraw - Goodreads

I think this book is a timely topic, as most of us will at some point have someone close to us experience a serious illness. I picked it up looking for insights on what actions and words are most ... Read full review


My Summer ofBliss
Cant Believe You Said That
TWO How to Give Good Visits
THREE The Perfect Present
and HowI Came to Love This One
FOUR Two Degrees of Separation
Company in the Cave
SIX Your Money or Your Health
SEVEN Dealing with DementiaRelating
EIGHT Coming Through for a Friend
Meditations on My Mortality
NINE As Bad as It Gets
TEN The Best of FriendsCase Histories

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2013)

Letty Cottin Pogrebin is an award-winning journalist, widely published opinion writer, acclaimed public speaker, admired political activist, and author of several nonfiction bestsellers, including Growing Up Free, Getting Over Getting Older, and Deborah, Golda, and Me. Her last book was a novel, Three Daughters. She lives in New York.

Bibliographic information