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17 Ways to Help a Friend With Chronic Illness Who's Having a Hard Day


One of the tough parts of being chronically ill is your friends often don’t know how to help you. They may think you’d like advice or an impressive gift, when perhaps a listening ear and offer to run an errand would brighten your day.

We asked our community of people living with chronic illnesses what they would want a friend to do for them if they’re having a hard day. The best thing you can do? Ask and listen. Every person is different and has a preference for what helps. But maybe one of these will spark an idea:

Here’s what they said:

1. “Send me a funny meme or text message!” — Courtney Soularie

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2. “Let me spoil you. On days that I don’t feel well, I like to make others feel happy and appreciated.” — Alison Taylor

3. “Listen to me complain and not offer essential oils.” — Teri Weissinger

4. “Walk my dog.” — Pati CloudDancer

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5. “Let me rant about my symptoms. I don’t do it often, and I rarely tell people about what I’m coping with in detail, but when you let me talk about my issues on a biological level I feel like I’m educating you while helping myself to get through a particularly bad flare. Just your listening ear can make all the difference in the world.” — Hayley Rose

6. “Being left out and forgotten about is the deepest wound of all. I really appreciate it when I get the chance or choice to be included.” — Teresa Councell

7. “Offer to do my hot water bottle and make me a cup of tea.” — Nicky Treagus

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8. “Drop off dinner. By the time I get home from work, after a long day of Mommy’s taxi service, picking up medications at the pharmacy and whatever other errands I have to do, the last thing I have energy for is cooking dinner. But it has to be done, so I can’t get out of it. So if someone dropped it off, it would be so incredibly appreciated! I’d be able to sit down and rest my achy body. I’d have a little energy left to play with my boy instead of wasting that energy on cooking dinner and having to tell him, ‘Sorry buddy, Mommy needs to rest because she doesn’t feel good.’” — Brianna Wyckoff

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9. “Most of the time I don’t want a solution presented. I just want someone to listen and say, ‘I get it, it sucks.’” — Katie Burkes

10. “Take my kids for a couple hours so I can rest and they aren’t bored. I think my bad days are harder on the kids than they are on me. My 10- and 6-year-old shouldn’t have to help me off the toilet or wait on me, so take them for the afternoon and let them be kids.” — Melissa Warburton

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11. “Having a friend ask if there’s anything they can do and reminding me they’re here for me always cheers me up a bit. Bonus points for turning up with a yummy pastry and a good DVD!” — Shannon Dawe

12. “Just being loyal makes a huge difference. Chronic illness is a hard thing, but knowing your friends won’t walk out on you despite everything is a lifesaver.” — Alexandra Maldonado

13. “Hugs! I am single and without a significant other, so the number of hugs I get is not enough! I may be 41 but I still want hugs and to be told it will be OK or that I matter and someone cares for me.” — Sarah Jane Johns

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14. “Tell me you are on your way over with a snack because my house is on your way while you are out doing errands anyway. Then, once you come over, stay for just a bit to make tea and chat, then ask if you can add any of my errands to your list. Hug me and dash out the door. It will feel like Christmas all over again!” — Elizabeth Kreeft Turcic

15. “Just drop me an email out of the blue or post a note on Facebook saying something positive about me. When I feel bad, I feel bad emotionally too and my whole self feels ugly and worthless. Hearing positive things about myself from others when I’m down helps to lift my spirits. Write it to me, though, don’t call me. I don’t feel well enough to talk.” — Kelley Lum Oshiro

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16. “Clean or do laundry. Sometimes I have to rest a long time after I do.” — Angie Marulo

17. “My husband dumps me in the car and helps me to the beach to look at the sea. Really clears my mind! Sometimes he even beings tea in a thermos.” — Sarah Murray

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If you have a chronic illness, how can a friend be helpful when you’re having a tough day? Let us know in the comments below.

 17 Ways to Help a Friend With Chronic Illness Who's Having a Hard Day