Finding out who your friends are

Chronic illness has a lot of downsides. A LOT!  Apart from the physical effects, the surgeries, the time in hospital and the emotional and mental effects, it can massively effect your social life and friendships. 
I think it really does show who your friends are though.  I get that my illness has gone on for a long time, I know this more than anyone. I know it must be hard to be friends with me at times, I’m not the worlds most reliable person after all. I cancel on plans at the last minute and there’s times where I am so unwell that I can’t be there for the people I care about. 

But it makes me really sad that there are friends who sometimes seem to forget about me.  Maybe they are fair weather friends, only there when I have something to give back, only there when I am able to be fun and go out.  Or maybe they just don’t know what to say to me? 

I know it’s not just me too. I get a lot of messages from readers who are facing the same thing and are unsure of how to deal with it which is why I decided to write this post.  I don’t want to sound self obsessed or bitchy but it is definitely an issue for people with long term health conditions. 

Scope did a poll where they found that two thirds of people feel awkward around disability. Perhaps the same applies to illness?  Maybe people are worried about the right or wrong thing to say? Maybe they’re concerned about offending? 

I understand that feeling of being scared to say the wrong thing. Of worrying about sticking your foot in it and saying something that may upset the other person. But dude, just do it. Send a message, pick up the phone, arrange a visit. 

I try to see the best in others, I think it’s better to assume the best in people rather than thinking the worst and so I try and think of reasons behind this behaviour.  Perhaps they’re just really busy, they have their own shit to be dealing with.  It’s easy to slip your mind when your life and struggles take over.  Maybe they don’t know what to say or they are having their own issues? 

I have some amazing friends who I couldn’t cope without, who are always there for me.  They put themselves out to come and look after me, cook and clean when I can’t.  They visit, call and text and those people I am truly grateful to. 

I know it’s tough being my friend.  I know there are these vast time periods when I am so ill that I can give you nothing back. Believe me when I tell you how sorry I am that there are times when our friendship is one way, I’m sorry that sometimes I need more than I can give.  But know that as broken as I may be, I am loyal and loving and kind and when my stupid, bloody illness allows, I will be there for you too. 

Sam xx 

6 replies
  1. Christopher Corker
    Christopher Corker says:

    Wow. Deep stuff.
    There are numerous types of friendships and we all interact according to each.
    Friends might be family, neighbours, people you meet in places and circumstances that you jointly share.
    What ever kind you are, friendships develop where you have a common bond together with an invisible “likeability” factor.
    It then depends on how the above combine as to how you class your friends as to being close, near or fair weather etc.
    It is rational to place more emphasis on family and close friends but then not to get too hung up over the rest.
    Having said all that our family have a close affinity with you and your family and class you as our friends and will be there for you.

  2. Chloe
    Chloe says:

    I have been left friendless. They just dropped away when i couldn’t go out any more. Bright side is, i dont have a mobile phone anymore because i never used it, so thats a saving…

  3. Jan Robertson
    Jan Robertson says:

    I never realised what great friends I have. They’ve been there for me for over a year now, constantly e-mailing, because they know I like the breathing space it gives me to respond when I’ve thought it over or feel up to it. I hope they are never ill enough to need me back in the same way but if they are, I would like to be as constant as they have proved. Having said that, the number of “friends” I have are few, those who are really close to me and not just friendly aquaintances. If I could say this in a huge public arena, I would. I would like them to know how much I have valued and continue to value, their steady support. Just take what you’re given, be very grateful and don’t sweat the small stuff ! If cancer teaches you anything, it’s that time might be short, make every minute count as a positive entity and leave the rest behind you.

  4. Anika
    Anika says:

    If you can’t be hoest and straightforward to your friends and family what’s the point? These are the people who count after all. I’m often surprised when I hear people feel akward around their friends and think stuff through before they say it out loud.Why? Just spill it and if what you said upset you friend, man, talk about it.
    Because if it is a real friend it’s worth the effort for the both of you. What kind of friendship is it if people only come around and wanna hang with you if you are funny and in good spitits? Those kind of people are not worth the effort cause you can not rely on them but this is what one needs, specially when down or ill etc.
    Plus, because they are your friends and know your story they understand…( or at least try and accept it, if you e.g. have to cancel last minute or are in a shitty mood etc…) …At least that’s what my friends do.


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