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What Chronic Illness Has Taught Me About Friendship

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Remember the pinky promises from grade school friends who we couldn’t picture our lives without? Or swearing that we would name our future children after our best friends, because that’s just how much they meant to us?

Me too.

It natural for friendships to evolve within a lifetime. People change and drift apart, we decide that some of those friendships were actually toxic, and in case of chronic conditions, we lose friends simply because they don’t know how to interact with us.

Chronic conditions make maintaining friendships very difficult. They change who we are as a person, and it makes us realize what kind of personalities we want to surround ourselves with.

Friendship as you age is already complicated for healthy people, but as someone with a chronic condition, I really struggled to maintain old friendships and trying to make new ones.

My appearance is not the most “approachable.” Most days I am in sweatpants, no makeup on, and hair in a messy bun. Some people look cute in this attire, but me? I look like I just crawled out of bed…Which I probably did. That being said, who is going to want to walk up and start a conversation with someone who looks like they would rather be curled up in their bed?

Being ill leaves me feeling no confidence in myself and I don’t want to burden my friends with my issues or leave them disappointed because they want to do things that I can’t do.

The major thing I learned about friendship with a chronic illness is that the people who truly want to be in your life will stay. If they don’t stay, then maybe you don’t really need them in your life. In my experience, the friends that have stuck with me have become some of the closest people to me. They’re practically family, and they’re the best people I could ask for.

Chronic illness sucks, but when it helped me filter out some toxic relationships, and it has given me more out of life than most people would normally get.

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Thinkstock Image By: DeepGreen

Originally published: April 24, 2017
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