My friend is going to lose her hair (or has lost her hair). What do I say to her?
A friend of ours asked us this question recently and we have a few good answers.
Acknowledge your friend’s hair loss! She knows she lost her hair, whether to chemo or alopecia or hereditary hair loss. There’s no point in NOT talking about it. It’s a huge loss. You can imagine losing your own hair. Some friends have been known to shave their heads in solidarity with their friends’ loss. This is exceptional (you don’t have to shave yours to understand what her hair loss does to her.)
Help her recognize the hair loss is progressing. If you think your friend is losing too much hair and it’s time, gently ask her how her hair loss is and how she feels about it. Some women go years (or longer) with very thin hair and get used to their appearance. A good friend asks her if she’s happy about her hair and if she’s not, encourages her to see a wig stylist and professional.
Go with her to a wig salon (if she wants you to)
A wig salon is different than a wig store. A wig salon is a private place where she can consult with a wig stylist to decide on the right path for her hair replacement. She may want a trusted confidante, a bottle of wine and a box of Kleenex. She might want her favorite leather jacket, a new lipstick and some earrings to bolster her confidence when she leaves.
Ask her how she’s doing. She might not want to answer how much her hair is growing (or falling out) and she might feel uncomfortable talking about it anywhere else but a private place. Give her space, and an open-ended opportunity to talk if she wants to.
She might come to you with some pretty emotional thoughts. Everything from feeling depressed, to how to handle feeling like less of a woman is on the table for her. She might want to be just like she was before and not talk about it at all. Let her talk, she’ll tell you what she needs.
Compliment her wigs, scarves and hats
She needs to know she looks beautiful. Regardless of her choice to deal with her type of hair loss, she’s still your beautiful friend. If she chooses wigs, or scarves or nothing at all, support her.
Buy her a gift reflective of her situation
Our gift-giving guide gives you some ideas of what to get her. The best gift of all may be time spent with you, her friend! Go for a girls night out or a girls weekend away!
Be a friend. The same friend you always are, and be present. That’s all she truly needs