Picture this, your BFF just sat you down and poured her heart out to you telling you that she has genital herpes.
Of course you’re just as shocked and don’t know what to say. I get it. I can remember my friends didn’t know what to say to me either. I think we just opened a bottle of wine and it made everything feel better. But in all seriousness, wine isn’t the answer and you need to be there for your BFF.
Here’s what you shouldn’t do when your BFF tells you that she has herpes!
The worst thing you can do is shame them and make them feel like they deserved getting herpes. Saying things like, “well I told you so” or “you never use condoms so it’s inevitable” or “it’s about time, you’ve slept with the entire town” or “well I’m not surprised”. Ok I think you get the point. There’s no reason to add any of your personal opinion on why they got herpes to the conversation. Not only is it probably not true but most likely it’s coming from the herpes stigma. No need to go there.
Don’t Treat Them Differently
Now that you know your friend has an STI and has herpes there is no need to treat them any different than before. It’s not like you’re going to catch it by hanging out and doing the things you’ve always done. Unless of course you’re sleeping with your friend or your friend has oral herpes and you share makeup. Don’t act any differently or look at them differently. The last thing your friend wants is the pity party or to be treated different from her BFF.
Don’t Tell Everyone You Know
Please don’t go telling all your other friends. This is like the worst thing you could do and it would obviously end your friendship. As juicy as this gossip might be or telling another friend because you think it will help the situation is all a bad idea. Your BFF trusted you with this deep dark secret. Bad news travels faster than good news so before you know it if you tell 1 person 10 people will know. You don’t want the responsibility of being the one who spilt the beans as well as it is beyond humiliating and a breach of trust. If you have to tell someone tell your dog, your priest or your therapist.
At the end of there are some pretty bad ways to treat your friend when he or she is going through this awful time of learning about their herpes diagnosis. Just do your best to listen, be there for them and give them a big hug. Whatever you do don’t let the herpes stigma get in the way of you supporting your friend.
So speaking of friendship and herpes I want to make sure you know about our Life With Herpes community. I even have a podcast where we talk with one of our members about friendships and how the Secret Society has been a lifesaver. You can check it out here. We have an online community that’s filled with hundreds of people from all over the world who get exactly what you’re going through. We’d love to see you there and you can find the friendships and support you need.
As always feel free to reach out with questions. If you’re needing some extra support and need some hand holding the best way for you to join our community. I’d love to see you there.