How do I deal with work colleagues asking questions?

I’m due to go back to work in the beginning of January on a phased return and I just don’t know how I’m going to cope with talking about all of this to my work colleagues. I know they’ll ask because they care but I’m not ready to talk about it. I still can’t get my head around the experience myself.
When I’m with my friends who have been with me from the start I’m ok because they’ve always been there.
I struggled talking with the Occupational Health lady but managed because I was on the phone and she couldn’t see my tears. I want work to be a place to forget everything that’s happened.
Any advice please
Lv Clair xx

Hi Clair,

I’ve just replied to your other post on the other thread but saw this and wanted to answer. I suppose the way you choose to deal with questions depends how close you are to your colleagues.  If they are just work mates then I think just saying ‘thankyou for asking how I am - I’m doing o.k.’ should suffice. If they continue to ask questions that you feel uncomfortable answering I would politely tell them you would rather not talk about personal things at work, or words to that effect. It’s hard because I obviously don’t know them, but I do know some people who only ask to be nosy. You will know who to open up to and who to be more guarded with. I’m sure it won’t be as difficult as you may be imagining. I’ve found that a lot of my acquaintances don’t ask me anything at all because they don’t know what to say! Try not to let it spoil your looking forward to going back.  XX Lily

Totally understand how you feel Clair ,I found talking about cancer with all but very close friends excruciating and upsetting. I told very few people why I had been off work ,said it was “women’s problems " that seems to stop conversation quite nicely!.Think Lily’s advice is spot on ,most people won’t ask beyond” how are you" and will respect " I’m fine now thanks ".Good luck .

Thank you, xx
I expect it’ll be fine, I’ve been really looking forward to getting back to work for so long but now it’s getting nearer I’m getting anxious and I’ve lost a lot of confidence.
My mantra will be step by step I’ve just got to remember it xxxx

I’ve adopted Helena’s getting there. It was good to see colleagues briefly on Friday and they were all lovely and no awkward questions. X

I’m meeting up with my work class team tomorrow and my friend who has been with me from the start is coming to.
I’m feeling a bit nervous but it’ll break the ice before the dreaded return…
I’ll let you know how I get on xx

Thank you Helena xx

Clair I hope you’ve had a lovely catch up today. I had a lovely catch up lunch with the team today - wasn’t so successful with manager meeting though ?

Hiya, it wasn’t to bad at all after getting the you’ve lost weight and what happens now questions it all went back to being just our normal boisterous selves.
I’m so sorry to hear your manager wasn’t very supportive, I’ve just caught up on our other thread :frowning: maybe he should get with my occupational health ladies and compare notes xxxxxx

Hello Claire, just to let you know how I deal with work colleagues. They are all (my immediate colleagues - not the bosses!) very caring and anxious how I am doing, but I find it impossible sometimes to talk about it. Instead, I have a particular friend there (we do stuff together outside work hours), and I tell her any information/ problems, etc, and she lets everyone else know how things are going when I am not there (I work part time). Do you have someone with whom you are particular friends, or who you trust and can talk to? Perhaps they could work as your intermediary.


Hugs and best wishes. Barton.x

I’m lucky in that I work privately for a family with their autistic son and she’s holding my job and paying me although I’m not there.I’ve been with them 14 years.I will however have to look for another additional morning job.I gave it up as I was a cleaning supervisor and it was too physical and risks of infection too great.I have nightmares about not finding work or hating the job…worried people won’t want to employ me but I can’t lie about the cancer…just too much of a blabberer or that I won’t be up to it physically, particularly if I should get lymphedema after rads.I pictured myself working well into my 60’s…I have to work as I live alone and normally spent my days going from one job to another

I went back to work yesterday and it wasn’t to bad. I had lots of hugs and welcome backs. Only1person continually tried to asked questions so I just said I’m really glad to be back at work so I can move on and they hopefully got the message. I haven’t ventured into the staff room yet and I think that’ll be the place where people may want to ask stuff but I’ll see. It was easier actually being there and dealing in person. I think worrying about it was the worse thing. X