Being friends with someone who has a disability, or a chronic illness can be a challenge. Here are some helpful hints to help you navigate your relationship.
- Be understanding and listen to them without any judgements. Knowing who you can trust with sharing yourself and feelings without being judged can be a lifeline for some.
- Don’t assume you can Fix it – sometimes they just want to unburden themselves and are not looking for you to fix it.
- Be understanding – Illnesses are unpredictable, so don’t be upset when they have to cancel plans or do not answer your messages straight away
- Do you research – Learn more about their illness and what they are going through, this will help you to understand them better and be able to be helpful when they need it
- Offer them help - Ask if they need help with anything. Sometimes showing you care means a lot.
- Invite them to things. Being disabled can be so lonely as people don’t invite them to events/gatherings as it is easier to not have to accommodate them. Invite your friends to things even if you know they may not come. No one wants to feel excluded.
- Double check your schedule. If you invite them to catch up for coffee or grab a movie, try very hard not to change plans.
- Be respectful – Don’t make jokes about their disability or illness unless they specifically say its ok too. It’s never nice to be made fun of or reminded constantly that they are different.