If you have a friend who lives with chronic ill-health you may want to support them, but are unsure of how to do this. Please take the time to read this post – you could make a real difference in your friend’s life.
Being a good friend to someone living with chronic ill-health may take some adapting. But I promise you we are worth the extra effort.
What simple things do your friends do that you really appreciate?
Living with chronic ill-health brings a lot of challenges. Our lives can be turned upside-down following deteriorating health or a chronic illness diagnosis.
But there are people in our lives that can make a difference. Our friends and family who stick around and genuinely want to help, can have a huge positive impact.
With this in mind, I reached out to my followers and asked;
“What simple things do your friends do that you really appreciate? Or what do you wish they did that would make your life that little bit easier, and more bearable?
What advice would you give to someone wanting to be a good friend to a person living with chronic ill-health?”
Thank you to everyone who responded 💙
How to be a Good Friend
I know this is a long post but it can be summarised as the following;
Being a good friend is pretty simple really.
Be flexible. Be informed. Be mindful. Listen. Offer help. Believe them. And please don’t forget about them.
To truly understand how to help your friend, you need to know what challenges they face due to their chronic illness. Do your own research about their illness – educate yourself. It means so much to us when a friend has gone out of their way to try to understand. And If you’re unsure about something please just ask, don’t assume.
One of my friends is doing research and learning about this disease. ~ Sonya Lowe (@sloweme)
I’ve really appreciated friends who’ve made an effort to learn about my illness and have shared info with other friends. It’s saved me a lot of spoons because I don’t need to keep explaining my condition. ~ @BekkyJohnson3
If they really care then read information about my condition so that they have better understanding. I often point them at good websites sources. ~ Steven Holland
Showing they understand by asking how my health is, ..[..], just recognize that ill never be 100% but understanding that this is me. My friend circle is tiny but that’s ok for me. ~ Dee Attwood
If you want to know something ask for good resources so you get good sources but don’t make us constantly expend our physical, mental and emotional energy on your demand. ~ Elaine Levett
Learn about their health issues. ~ Hana Moreton
Above all, if you do care, please read up on our conditions. Many of our frustrations come from not being understood or believed. It would mean the world to me if anyone I know in real life had actually asked or read up on my hypermobility. But they haven’t and it feels like they just don’t believe my conditions are that bad to warrant further curiosity. ~ SpoonieTees
No unsolicited health advice please
Being informed also includes trusting we know our own bodies. Unsolicited health advice, no matter how well meaning, is intrusive and invalidating.
Ask “what can I do?” Please don’t fix. We know our own bodies. Also right up there for me is I absolutely want to support those I love, don’t feel you can’t talk to me if I’ve got stuff going on. Unending anyway! ~ @JanSeventyFour
Don’t suggest ‘cures’ instead if you have an idea ask if you are able to suggest first and if no? It means no. ~ Elaine Levett
Please trust us that we’re doing all we can to help our health – “have you tried…” suggestions and telling us about what worked for your colleague’s sister’s dog’s best mate aren’t helpful. ~ r2dee2boop
Don’t give unsolicited medical advice or tell them about things that might make them feel better. If they’ve been poorly for quite a while you can be sure they’ve researched and tried everything out there. Plus if the doctors don’t know what to do, you won’t either. ~ Hana Moreton
Not trying to suggest that my illness could be fixed with yoga / lightening process / vitamins would also be great – to be treated as seriously ill as someone who has a diagnosable illness. ~ rosemonde
Try to be flexible with your time, energy and how you communicate with your friend, because they don’t have that luxury.
Offer to go to them so they don’t use up unnecessary energy on travelling. Expect that they may cancel – have a back up plan so your friend knows they didn’t ruin your day and you’re still having fun.
Be flexible with how you communicate with your friend
My friend and I use the voicemail on WhatsApp to ‘chat’ it’s so effective. We can listen when we have the energy and reply by speaking instead of typing which can be so time consuming and exhausting. Plus we get to hear each other’s voices and tone etc which is lost on texting alone. ~ Elly Bell
People I’ve never met but I know through work, and we talk via message have actually said some of the most touching things ever heard. A connection can absolutely be felt even if they live across the pond. I’ve not very many close friends as I have huge trust issues. 💓 ~ @MeInfoUk (Hayley 101 Tips)
Be flexible with your time and energy, because they don’t have that luxury
Not being late if they come over, as it puts me off trying again next time. My timer starts at the time they say they will come, not when they actually turn up. Also leaving after the agreed amount of time even if I still feel ok, knowing that I still need to stop. ~ Katie As (@Ka_ashy)
Meet me where I am on energy levels, hearing it is ok for me to rest/not meet certain expectations helps. ~ @SheGoesOn
I haven’t many real world friends left, but what I like is when my sister comes over and she helps me sort out things or clothes, and she does it in my tempo. She’s very fast, I’ve become slow. It’s really hard for her but she manages to go slow. ~ @BettineM
Helping us manage our energy expenditure by being on time for meet ups and be ok with the meet up being timed, same with phone calls. ~ Gracie Wilkie
Offer to meet at their house rather than them coming to you
Coming to me vs meeting somewhere or having me go to them. ~ @spo_okyJem
My best friends come to visit bc they know it’s almost impossible for me to go see them. ~ Sonya Lowe (@sloweme)
Coming over to my house and just talking with me about life (not my illness). And not being weirded out when I put my feet way above my head so I can focus. ~ @ThrivesNoel
With lockdown and some of my friends being told to shield. I’ve found getting a takeaway coffee and having chats through a window has really helped. My friend who is fighting a rare cancer has seen me come rain or shine (quite literally) in her garden at social distance. She puts her kettle on I bring a take away coffee and we chat. ~ kt_bumblebeee_queen
Being mindful covers many aspects of how you interact with your friend including being aware of their limited energy, any harmful chemicals you maybe bringing into their home, and how you communicate with them.
If visiting they only stay as long as I can cope with. ~ Steven Holland
It really helps me when friends check in and say, “let me know if you’re getting tired or you want me to leave” after a little while. Otherwise I continue to socially steamroll myself into a crash by gabbing away. ~ Sophie Enever
Be very attentive to when your me/fibro friend may be becoming drained by the social interaction, even if they are enjoying it. ~ Elaine Vaughn
If they’re needing my support, having a tough day then please ask me if they can share before venting at me, don’t offload and leave. Others don’t always realise the cost of it to me, as I then have to pay for it with all it takes out of me to listen in that moment. ~ Kelly Davies
Keep contacts short and let me sit down x ~ Donna Bullingham
I used to host girls nights so that I could manage the situation for my needs. I was good at setting boundaries and telling people they’d have to leave by a certain time, but mostly they’d keep an eye on me and were great at spotting when I was getting tired and leaving then! ~ @MECFSSelfhelpGu
My friend and I have even been on several vacations together, and that’s because I know that she’ll understand if I crash and never push me. My family isn’t supportive at all, I’ve had to break off contact with a few them because of them mocking me and accusing me for being lazy. So I’m so grateful that I have such good friends that I trust completely. ❤️ ~ Astrid Synnøve Waage (@SynnAstrid)
Text before calling or visiting to check we are well enough
My best friend always comes to me and always checks on the day that I’m having a good enough day to have a visit. ~ @MECFSSelfhelpGu
The most considerate of my friends ask me about how my spoons are or how many i have today and understand any arrangement comes with the automatic caveat of “if I’m up to it”. That is the most important to me. ~ @KirstieWrites
If good friends are going to phone they text first to see if I have the capacity to cope with the call. ~ Steven Holland
Please ask my permission before calling or visiting, it takes more out of me than some realise, it’s my marathon to be in company. ~ Kelly Davies
It would be nice if friends dropped a text first to find out if I’m up to talking before calling. Talking is not an option when fatigue is crushing as you know. I end up ignoring calls. ~ andie556
Understand that sometimes they are not well enough for full conversations
Conversations, either by phone, in person, by text or even social media, can be exhausting for people living with chronic ill-health. If a friend only sends an emoji as a response they are not being rude, they’re just exhausted.
Not getting upset if I don’t reply straight away to texts. They also notice when my replies are really delayed so give me space until my health picks up. If it’s for longer than a week or two they drop a check in message just to see if I’m ok and need anything. ~ @SerenSketches
For me, it’s important for my true friends to understand that sometimes if I’m not keeping in touch, or don’t always reply to messages, it’s not because I don’t want to or don’t care. Sometimes I just can’t. If I’m really struggling I often withdraw and just can’t face conversation, even in text form. I do understand that this doesn’t apply to everyone but for me, I need to know that my friends understand and accept me and that is my only way to deal with how I’m feeling. ~ Sim O’Connor
🖤 to know and understand when there’s no reply its because they likely don’t have the spoons, but to also be there anytime you’re needed. ~ Moggy Luna Tinnion
Realise we are always in pain and that affects our social interaction sometimes. ~ Elaine Levett
Making it clear that it’s ok to just communicate with emojis or punctuation is a big one. ~ marendoesthings
Understanding that a text is all I need and can cope with sometimes. ~ @MabethsWorld
Be aware of any potentially harmful chemicals etc you may be bringing into their home
Many of us living with chronic illness have hypersensitivity to certain things. Whether that’s chemicals, fragrances, noise, light.. Educate yourself and be aware that you are entering their safe zone (home).
If your disabled friend has multiple chemical sensitivities, go scent-free, and don’t act like it is SO inconvenient and a huge sacrifice. Advocate for your disabled friend. ~ Elaine Vaughn
Please stop and think before excitedly telling your friend about your plans
Some days your friend may love to hear about your adventures – other days it may be too much to bear. Please ask them first.
Although I love hearing from friends I get weary of hearing about lovely adventures, outings, job opportunities etc. Be mindful of the limitations people with chronic illness face and maybe ask if I would like to hear about the latest exciting event.
Would be nice to be asked how I am, how was my day. ~ Elaine Walker
Anticipate because that shows caring. Participate so they have a say. ~ @WayOfCats
Offer to Help
Sometimes we need practical help, sometimes emotional support – just like your healthy friends.
Offer to do some chores
Some simple cleaning, shopping or cooking may take little time and effort for you, but could feel like running a marathon to your friend. Offer to help if you can.
My son helps me with hot food scrubbing the wet room simple tidying but due to follow his brother in the RAF very soon so going down the carers route to help me friends have fallen away due to my illness i understand why i cant do the things they want to do its a lonely illness💙 ~ Amanda Abbott
I have one amazing friend who comes once a week to give my dog a good walk. She often brings me a homemade treat too & we have a little chat before I retreat into the four walls where I spend 98% of my time. It means everything to me, that kindness & that chat on the doorstep. ~ Kim Matthews (@wolfsong12)
I have a friend who offers help in a way that’s easier to accept. E.g. “I’ve got an hour on Saturday to do any chores you need” So much easier than the vaguer “let me know if you need anything” ~ Gracie Wilkie
It would be amazing if someone, anyone would come over and help me out in my home. I find it hard to do any task. It takes forever to get things done. I used to worry about things like this. I try not to let the mess bother me. But some days it’s too much and very overwhelming. ~ Angela (@Mystixsky)
My bestie will do a shop for me which makes my life a lot easier. ~ Donna Still
Doing a couple of simple things around my house when I’m too tired to. ~ @spo_okyJem
I love short regular texts, dropping off a bowl of soup, a bunch of flowers, household chores, talking quietly, limiting visits, talk to me about what is going on in their life, avoid coming round with strong perfumes,/deodorants washing powder smells. ~ Debi Jenkins
Offer to cook meals, or deliver food parcels
Practical support, like help preparing food, can make a big difference. Something as simple as a hot cooked meal can be a lifeline for someone living with chronic ill-health.
I wish they would think to ask if I need any housework doing or bring some food over I can heat up later to save me cooking. It’s small things but most of all a phone call or facetime can make all the difference. ~ @BloomingMindxx
Dropping off food parcels when I’m crashing. ~ Lorna – Cream Crackered Blog
I have two very good friends who understand my condition and check on me regularly. One of them (my best friend) I normally see each week. She makes extra portions of food when she can to send me home with for the days I can’t cook. ~ Liz Ward
My cousin turned up with hot home cooked food – I didn’t even have to micro it. Friends who did a chore when they visited without being asked – washing up, putting rubbish out etc. If someone says “if you want anything, ask” it’s not as good as just doing a task. ~ @cfs_jo
Text when going shopping to see if we need anything. ~ Steven Holland
Interact with them on social media to show your support
Many of us use the Internet as a way to raise awareness; blog posts, shared articles, petitions etc. Take the take to show your support by interacting with our posts on social media.
One thing I wish more of my friends would do (& am super grateful to those that do) is interact with my blog posts in any way. A like or a share, to show they cared about helping raise awareness or supporting my disability rights campaigning at all. It’s mostly radio silence. ~ Lorna – Cream Crackered Blog
Support them when they’re trying to raise awareness. Liking, commenting or sharing their posts is so validating, shows you care and that someone is listening. ~ Hana Moreton
But please only offer help if you genuinely mean it
Asking for help is hard – we often feel like a burden. So please only offer help if you genuinely mean it.
I think generally offering help and making clear that it’s no bother is really important. I used to feel guilty just asking someone to pop upstairs for something for me, now I’m preparing myself to send a to do list out to my friends for them to pick tasks from! 🤣 ~ Sophie Enever
Ask what you can do for them — if there are any areas in which they need help — and be prepared to actually help. ~ Elaine Vaughn
If you offer help mean it. Don’t tell us you are always here but then use us when it suits you and ignore/ghost us the rest of the time. Friends are meant to be equal in effort. If you offer to *do* something then when we do ask for that help follow through. ~ Elaine Levett
If I’ve summed up the courage to ask for help with something, forgetting to do that thing hurts & guarantees me not asking any more. ~ SpoonieTees
This is a negative one, but don’t say “if you need anything etc”, if you don’t actually mean it. Asking for help is hard. ~ Joanne Smith
We spend a lot of time on our own, and when we do see people we often need to talk about challenges in our life, or sometimes we just need a bit of reassurance. Be patient and take time to listen to us. Also listen when your chronic illness friend expresses how you can help them.
Sometimes we just need someone to listen without judgment
Don’t feel you always need to be cheerful or put a positive spin on things. Sometimes we need to acknowledge how shit things can be for me…don’t feel you always have to say something positive…just acknowledging that its.crap.is sometimes helpful x ~ Clare Ratty Hall
Let me speak if I need to, let me not be “strong” like it’s a badge of honour. Help me to celebrate my vulnerability too, to feel ok to show it when I’m having a crap day and not have to mask it. It’s taken me a long time to do this. ~ Kelly Davies
Asking me to “be positive”, or telling me to “focus on the positive” is by-passing and gaslighting me when I’m telling you I’m having a tough day…because trust me I’m still going to be holding some of it back anyway, because it overwhelms me to show it all, all of the time... [..] .don’t worry if you can’t help me or don’t know what to say or do, it’s ok to tell me that too. [..] I often don’t need solutions, merely the opportunity to vent. ~ Kelly Davies
Always be genuine. If you want to be our friend, acknowledge that our lived experience is different, we are allowed to get upset at our situation and it is nothing to do with you. […].. Also be ready to hear the honest struggle and sit with the suckiness and uncomfortable part of being unable to help. Don’t tell people its ‘negative’ or ‘attention seeking’ or ‘seeking sympathy’ to be told lived experience. ~ Elaine Levett
Helping me think through things when my brain fog is bad. Just sitting with me when I’m mourning my old life, and letting it happen. ~ @spo_okyJem
Please don’t go out of your way to “cheer me up.” The fact that I’m out of the house and seeing a friend has me in a good mood already. Any more than that and I feel like everyone knows I’m about to die but me. ~ @DanDePrez
Let them have a rant, even if you’ve heard it all before. Sometimes a good cry or getting angry is one way of offloading our stress and can help us with our mental health. Don’t belittle how they’re feeling, instead let them know that everything they are experiencing is totally valid. ~ Hana Moreton
Allow us to vent if needed, & say supportive things to boost our mental wellbeing, but never, ever “helpful remedies” or “I know, I get that too”. ~ SpoonieTees
Taking your word for it when you say you don’t feel up to doing something, Not questioning, not pushing you to do it, just accepting that this is the way it is this time! ~ lifeofpippa
Offer encouragement – be your friend’s cheerleader
Celebrating my small wins with me. My bestie is always showing me what I don’t see because I’m in the thick of things. She helps me to see how amazing I am to achieve even 1 thing above my “normal” day because it’s a massive thing given my “normal” is most people’s idea of a nightmare. ~ Kelly Davies
This is a big one. When your friend talks about their symptoms, pain, gaslighting, health challenges, discrimination they face, or anything; please believe them without judgment. You may not know this, but we face a lot of disbelief which can be exhausting and frustrating – we don’t need this from our friends too.
Listen and believe. ~ @Tricia16695450
Staying in touch and asking about my illness #LymeDisease as I feel that no one really believes its a thing 💚 ~ SStyles
They text me everyday, believe me when I say how I am, are never judgemental and although they can’t help with my symptoms, they often tell me they wish they could help, that makes all the difference. ~ Deborah Strickley
Believe them. Reach out to them even when they can’t initiate contact with you. ~ Elaine Vaughn
don’t quiz them about why they don’t have a job 🤨 and don’t try to give them advice how to get a job 🙄 ~ Sylvia Rajna
When I say I’m fully housebound and my body doesn’t give me enough to get out, please don’t say “but what about if you did…” or “what if I put you in the car and we did…” because believe me I’ve spent many years pushing through, crying and searching through more “what ifs” than you could possibly ever suggest and finally, I had to accept I simply can’t. Every time I have to convince others too, it’s like I have to grieve all over again. ~ Kelly Davies
Don’t compare your friends symptoms to other people with the same condition
Illnesses have spectrums of severity – we are all different. Please don’t compare your friends symptoms to other people with the same condition. Comparing can invalidate their struggles.
Never compare my symptoms, even to those of other people who have the same condition. Most chronic illnesses exist on a spectrum and we’re never the same; and it’s too easy to come across as minimising my pain when comparing me to someone who has “really bad” ME. ~ missveryemergency
Don’t Abandon Them
This point should be obvious but so many people living with chronic ill-health experience friends abandoning them for whatever reason. It’s upsetting to see once close friends disappear out of our lives.
You may find the symptoms of their illness scary, or simply not know how to act around them – maybe it makes you feel uncomfortable? Please find a way to get past this discomfort so you can support your friend – they need you now more than ever.
Keep regular contact, even if that’s just a text
Please know that your phone call, text or visit could be the only one that person receives that week, so your friendship is more valuable than you will ever know.
Keeping in regular contact by text, checking on my emotional well-being before asking advice or anything heavy like that. Understanding I sometimes take a while to reply. ~ Lorna – Cream Crackered Blog
Sending a text, knowing that it will take a while to get a reply. 📳 ~ @KateNotanExpert (Kate Williams)
I appreciate them calling or texting just ‘coz. Doesn’t happen very often, I think theyvw a it for me to do it because they don’t want to catch me when I’m unwell. ~ Katie Clark
Even if we dont go out together, just text me once in a while so I know someone cares. Its heartbreaking having a phone and never receiving any contact. ~ chroniclee_me
I really like getting a phone call (setting it up ahead of time perhaps by text to ensure I don’t miss it sleeping etc). Hearing someone’s voice and/or seeing them and their family through Skype or zoom as well, feels like I’m visiting (and I can’t go visiting). I feel as though while things have slowed down for some during these challenging times, connecting with other people can bring laughter and a sense of connectedness which in turn, brings many health benefits to everyone, holistically. ~ engaging life
Don’t exclude them from activities
Even if you don’t think they will be well enough to attend, we still like to be invited – please don’t simply exclude your friends from all activities.
I really appreciate that my friends still include me in plans but without the pressure to go/participate if I’m struggling. Also, just being mindful of what we do so it is as “ME friendly” as it can be. I’m lucky to have some supportive friends as I know sadly others do not. ~ Lu (@SleepBunny6)
My best friend since high school and her husband are absolutely amazing. They have kind of adopted me 😆, so I’m always included in every social get-together. Not because they feel sorry for me, but because they enjoy my company. ~ Astrid Synnøve Waage (@SynnAstrid)
Keep them in the loop. Let them know what everyone is up to, and invite them to join in activities; even if they’ve said no 10 times before, they might just be able to make the next one. Plan accessible things to do with them for when they are feeling up to it. ~ Hana Moreton
Still invite me even if they know I will say no. Feels good to be included and not forgotten. ~ hikerannosaurus
They include me in social activities even when I’m so exhausted that I struggle to hold a conversation. I feel like Eeyore – his friends loved him even when he wasn’t fun. ~ liadainod
Let let know you are thinking of them
A simple card, letter, or anything to let them know you are thinking of them can mean the world – living with chronic illness can be lonely sometimes.
I appreciate random messages that show me they’re thinking of me, mostly silly things or stuff we have in common. If it’s just a basic “Hi, how are you?” nothing stops me in my tracks more because I don’t think you really understand me & my illnesses if that’s your opening line. ~ @SpoonieTees_
One friend sends me hilarious short videos regularly but not too often. Another sends me caring recorded messages from herself just talking about general stuff. I love them both. ~ Sue Fraser
Short text messages regularly, maybe every Saturday to just say hello, thinking of you. ~ Elaine Walker
Checking in with me “just because” is one thing we do, it helps me feel seen. I’ve shown my friends/family that it doesn’t always have to be because they’re doing something for me, or for my condition because I can’t…it helps me to be more than just my conditions. ~ Kelly Davies
Short texts of contact, not necessarily a ‘are you ok’ but a ‘hello dear’. ~ Dee Attwood
When my friends keep checking up on me even when I can’t give them anything back. Understanding when I can’t reply to messages straight away, and messaging anyway. ~ littleworldofliv
#MyDailyThankYou ~ a friend I’d not seen for ages dropped off a lovely card & gift for me yesterday. Just to say “I’m still thinking of you.” Isn’t it nice when people still think of you & know it can be tough after all the years of #chronicillness. This is the front of the card💖 ~ Not Just Tired
What can they do, accept this was it is and them just sending in a virtual hug or a asking if there’s anything we need when they pop to the shops 💖 ~ @LittleGiftHive
Sending me videos and texts when I can’t get out of bed. ~ @spo_okyJem
Recognize it’s more than just the physical that they’re dealing with. Be aware of their emotional needs, regularly let them know that you’re there if they need to talk. It’s important to remember that people with chronic illness often lose some of their independence, and may cling to the idea that they need to be emotionally strong. So you need to be persistent and regularly let them know you’re available for them! ~ Via Valiant
How to be a good friend: Firstly I’d say just letting your friend know you are there for them. Short messages to check in plus let them know that they don’t need to reply if they haven’t got the energy. ~ Hana Moreton
l have a friend who sends me a handwritten card every now and I love receiving those… Messages saying that friends are thinking of me are also lovely to receive. ~ rosemonde
Although they can’t put themselves in our place, anything kind goes a long way: a small gift, a card, a link to a mutual interest page, anything thoughtful ESPECIALLY if the person with illness lives alone as we feel forgotten most of the time. ~ SpoonieTees
Let us know you care from time to time, as we sometimes forget & feel ‘in-valid’. 💛 ~ Hayley Elyra
Not asking “How are you” by way of saying “hello” is the nicest thing. Texts to say they’re thinking of me/sending me love and then filling me in on something from their day is such a nice escape. A card through the post makes something of my day too, even if it doesn’t have much written in it. ~ Anna Redshaw
Don’t forget about them
The truth is; Too many of us living with chronic ill-health have experienced friends disappearing even those we were once very close to. Please don’t do this.
What friends? They’ve been gone for 20 of my 28 yrs with this disease. ~ @M1959Grace
Remember us. Just, please, remember us. We know it’s painful. We know it would be easier to forget. Nobody wants to think about what our lives are like. But when you actively remember us, we really appreciate it. ~ @CaninePawtonomy
Say hello on holidays and birthdays. And a phone call, not just text or email. And, basically, find a way to spend some consistent time. Real time…like an hour or more every couple of months. Isolation is a horror show. And, by the way, I have been in this since 1983. And basically, with some mild exceptions…I have had no friends, since I got ill. A couple stuck around for a couple of years or so. So, I have lived close to 40 years without friends. ~ Jonn Neiss
Checking in more often so I don’t feel as forgotten. Instead of saying ‘let me know if I can do anything’ be more direct and say ‘I’m going to make you dinner one night this week, what suits you better?’ ~ Makayla Hunt
I lost every friend I had …and some family too! ~ Ramona Cheasebro
This illness drove all my friends away. ~ Andy Curtis
They left.. ~ Alexandra Raven
Don’t give up on them 😔 ~ Heidi Cooke
#1-(SERIOUSLY) Don’t abandon them!! ~ jessicajnetherton
Stay 💙 ~ sophie_mac7
Just Be a Friend…
Try not to over-analyse things too much, we are the same person we were before our diagnosis, we just have a few more challenges in life now. Just be a good friend…it really is that simple sometimes.
Reassure your friend that they are not a burden
Reassure your friend that you love and value them even when their ill-health means they are not always able to be present
Love me as I am and more importantly, remind me to love me too because some days it’s harder than others to remember that when I’m grieving for what isn’t or may never be again. ~ Kelly Davies
Reassuring me that I’m not unreliable or letting them down 💙 ~ Littleworldofliv
All my spoonie friends and I use our own experiences to help and support each other. To me, my support network and spoonie friends are my most precious and best friends because they’re the ones who understand the most!! Xxxx ~ Moggy Luna Tinnion
To answer your question, I had a lovely friend once who I didn’t need to explain a thing to, she understood. She always knew what to say and how I was feeling even if I tried to act normal. Just being told you’re safe and “I’m here” can bring you from the brink of desperation. ~ @MeInfoUk (Hayley 101 Tips)
Never make them feel bad for cancelling plans
Anyone living with chronic ill-health knows that the ongoing uncertainty about how we will feel each day makes planning almost impossible – chronic illness has a huge impact on our lives. Not only is it hard to plan ahead, but we also often have to cancel plans at the last minute. Not everyone understands this.
Please remember; we may seem unreliable because we often have to cancel plans – but it’s not us, it’s our health that is unreliable.
Accepting that cancelled plans doesn’t mean I don’t care or don’t want to hang out is a big one too. ~ marendoesthings
My big sister and I have a Get Out of Jail Free Card type of arrangement where we’ve promised each other that if we just *can’t be arsed*, it’s okay to say so and we won’t hold it against each other. Being able to be honest ‘safely’ is a huge relief. ~ thewonkybotanist
Don’t just focus on their illness
Please remember; your friend is still the same amazing and wonderful person they were before they got sick – the same kind and caring friend. They just have a few more challenges in their life now. While we need you to be mindful of our ill-health, we don’t always want that to be the main focus of our friendship and the time we spend together – sometimes we want to escape and feel a sense of normality.
Ask questions about anything that they are able to engage in: what books they are reading, TV shows, ideas, hobbies, etc. ~ Elaine Vaughn
To remember your personality hasn’t changed and that you don’t want to talk about illness you want to talk about normal life. ~ beccafreekiss
Engage with the parts of me that are not ill…I still have a great sense of humor and love of learning. I can talk about all sorts of things like cooking and books and conspiracy theories 😉 ~ Kimber Lee
Remembering that although our lives may have changed a lot, we’re still us. We still want to chat about all the things we always did chat about, and we still love our friends ❤ ~ r2dee2boop
Let us feel a sense of normality when we are able to show up. Focus on the friend that exists underneath the condition /limitation . Everyone wants to get on with life as best they can, and have quality time. ~ Hayley Elyra
Thank you for taking the time to read this post
I know it can seem a little scary, and maybe you’re afraid of saying the wrong thing or making your friend’s health worse by your actions. Or maybe you just feel a little uncomfortable? But your chronically ill friends need you now more than ever.
Sometimes we need practical help, sometimes we need emotional support. Sometimes we need to vent without judgment, and sometimes we just want to forget about being ill and just spend time with friends who understand us – and have fun. But most importantly we need you to stick around – don’t give up on us.
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