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Author Topic: I need advice how to support + coworker  (Read 1719 times)

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Offline friendwhocares

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I need advice how to support + coworker
« on: August 01, 2013, 01:12:37 AM »
I have turned here for some advice because this forum has proven to be a great place with a lot of accurate and informed contributors.


The story is that I have a coworker who I look up to and care about who was recently diagnosed. I forwarded them the links to this forum and told them it was a good place to find support/information.

My question is this.....how can I be a supportive person in this situation without overstepping boundaries etc.

I am educated enough to know it is safe for me to share a drink, but at the same time all of the fear mongering and stigmatizing of HIV/AIDS makes me feel like I should be fearful. I want to make them feel accepted and supported.

Is it not appropriate to bring up in a conversation if we are alone?

I am the only person that knows at work as far as I know and I would never compromise their status to anyone. So how do I let them know I am supportive without making them feel awkward?

These might be stupid questions but the bottom line is I would like to know how to best go about talking about things with them.....is it best not to? This is the type of person who does not have many avenues to share emotion.

I feel like I am rambling, but I appreciate all of the help all of you contributors provide to everyone. Thanks.

Offline mecch

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Re: I need advice how to support + coworker
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2013, 05:25:13 AM »
What did he/she say when you gave the link to this Forum?

How did you learn that he/she is HIV+?   Have you ever discussed it, or do you just know and are looking to discuss it?

Is this coworker also a friend? Have you discussed personal things with him/her in the past?

Finally, who needs to talk about it? You? Or your coworker? Or both.

Its difficult to give you advice without knowing a bit the context.


“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline Ann

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Re: I need advice how to support + coworker
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2013, 06:14:10 AM »
Hi Friend, welcome to the forums.

All you can really do is let this person know you care, and that you will be there for them as a shoulder to cry on or just as a willing listener.

A discrete and casual "how's it going?" in a situation where you're not going to be walked in on or overheard is ok, but don't mither them all the time with grave looks of concern and "how are you feeling?" type questions. Keep it simple and casual.

He or she isn't going to want to be treated any differently to how you treated him or her previously. He or she is still the same person they were before they got their diagnosis.

Despite all the fear-mongering that goes along with hiv, there are only three ways that hiv is transmitted between adults. They are....

Unprotected anal intercourse.

Unprotected vaginal intercourse.

Sharing drug injecting equipment.

And that's it. You are not going to become infected through any normal, day-to-day activities including drinking from the same cup or even sharing a fork.

Hope that helps.

Ann
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Offline friendwhocares

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Re: I need advice how to support + coworker
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2013, 10:39:26 PM »
What did he/she say when you gave the link to this Forum?

Thanks.

How did you learn that he/she is HIV+?   Have you ever discussed it, or do you just know and are looking to discuss it?

After they told me about some unusual test results after a lab and that they were going to follow up to see if there was anything that could be the cause including HIV. The next day they told me they were going to have to live the rest of their life taking medication because of HIV.

We have discussed this and I am not looking to get in depth or anything but just want to be supportive.

Is this coworker also a friend? Have you discussed personal things with him/her in the past?

I would consider them a friend, we are friends on facebook and we have discussed personal aspects of our lives on a regular basis.

Finally, who needs to talk about it? You? Or your coworker? Or both.

I guess that no one necessarily needs to talk about it but I want to do so without making it uncomfortable if it does come up. Like I mentioned, this is a person that does not regularly open up emotionally and I just wanted to let them know I am there to be supportive.


Its difficult to give you advice without knowing a bit the context.



Offline friendwhocares

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Re: I need advice how to support + coworker
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2013, 10:41:45 PM »
Hi Friend, welcome to the forums.

All you can really do is let this person know you care, and that you will be there for them as a shoulder to cry on or just as a willing listener.

A discrete and casual "how's it going?" in a situation where you're not going to be walked in on or overheard is ok, but don't mither them all the time with grave looks of concern and "how are you feeling?" type questions. Keep it simple and casual.

He or she isn't going to want to be treated any differently to how you treated him or her previously. He or she is still the same person they were before they got their diagnosis.

Despite all the fear-mongering that goes along with hiv, there are only three ways that hiv is transmitted between adults. They are....

Unprotected anal intercourse.

Unprotected vaginal intercourse.

Sharing drug injecting equipment.

And that's it. You are not going to become infected through any normal, day-to-day activities including drinking from the same cup or even sharing a fork.

Hope that helps.

Ann


This is actually very helpful Ann...regarding being tactful regarding the tone.

The thing that made me ask this in the first place was because I have never treated them differently nor would I....but at the same time I understand that it may be a difficult thing to cope with initially and that if I can be an outlet it would be a good thing.

Thanks

Offline mecch

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Re: I need advice how to support + coworker
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2013, 12:55:16 PM »
Thanks for the info.

I agree completely with Ann - just tell the person discretely that you're there if he/she needs you, but otherwise, business as usual.

Most people don't want their employers knowing their medical secrets unless there is reason the employer needs to know.

So even among colleagues, even a warm collegial relation, its not really the ideal forum for support for our challenges in our private lives, whatever they are.  Everyone's an individual though, so who knows, maybe the colleague will seek you out for support. It was sweet of you to come here looking for info and its nice of you to care.

You know these days HIV can be a so called "chronic manageable" disease.  When I got my diagnosis, I was shell shocked so obviously colleagues picked up on something.  But my decision was never to speak about it in my professional contexts. After I got used to the new normal, I'm pretty glad of that decision.  But your colleague did confide in you.  You'll be there if the time comes to give some support. In the meantime, as I'm sure you know, keep it discrete and let the colleague call all the shots.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline harleymc

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Re: I need advice how to support + coworker
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2013, 06:23:50 AM »
Glad your friend trusts you well enough to confide in you.... you two must have a good level of trust.

Ann's spot on as usual.

Your friend won't want to be defined by a medical diagnosis. Just be there for them the same way you would be for any good friend.

Offline stelyn27

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Re: I need advice how to support + coworker
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2013, 10:27:29 PM »
I'm glad that I came on here and saw this post,  today my work colleague and friend told me he has just been diagnosed.
One question I have is how do (if it ever happens)  deal with any small minded idiots that step to him?

 


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