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19 Reasons People With Chronic Illness Are Awesome Friends

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Dealing with chronic health challenges can be frustrating, complicated and even devastating, but the experience can also lead you to develop some pretty awesome qualities. Empathy towards other people who are in pain? Check. Understanding when plans need to be changed? Check. Content just chilling on the couch with some Netflix and chatting about your day? Check.

There are so many reasons why people with chronic illnesses make wonderful friends, so we asked our Mighty community what unique qualities they offer in their friendships. True, you may not be able to take spontaneous trips or go on all-day shopping sprees. But to your friends, maybe you’re the one who gives great advice and is supportive of those going through tough times — qualities that are arguably even more important.

Here’s what the community told us:

1. “I understand so many things around illness and medicines that friends and family can ask me random questions and I will probably know the answer. If not I can find info in no time. On top of this I learned the hard way about being ill and in pain so I have respect for others when they say they don’t feel well.”

2. “I’m always at home for friends to visit when they’re bored!”

3. “Being chronically ill has made me empathetic to my friends’ issues, no matter what they may be. Being empathetic allows me to offer more support because I completely understand what they’re going through.”

4. “I can be there for my friends when they need to talk. I am rarely too busy to not be either a sounding board or anything else.”

5. “I am the worst best friend. I cancel plans, don’t call or text for long periods of time, I’m withdrawn, what I have to say isn’t always positive. But I have also learned to cherish every friend who has stood by me despite the drastic ways chronic illness has changed me. Friends can be the best medicine, and I appreciate the very best kind of medicine. I’m only the best kind of friend because I appreciate the ones I have so deeply.”

6. “I am more aware of when other people are trying to cover up when something is wrong, so I am able to have honest conversations about what is going on in their lives.”

7. “[I’m] awake at odd hours if friends or family need me during the night, 24-hour service.”

8. “Since I have chronic pain I don’t take anything for granted. Now I give more value to my friends, my family and my husband, so I think I am a better person than before hence a better friend.”

9. “I will send you care packages when you are sick that I know you will love. When you get sick I will not abandon you.”

10. “I won’t judge you for coming over with no makeup/messy hair, wearing pajamas/comfy clothes because I’ll look the same.”

11. “The simple answer is because we understand. If they are having a terrible day we get it if they are having a good day we get it and if they are having a great day that’s what we hope for and that’s what they understand and that’s what a best friend is!”

12. “I completely understand when a friend needs to cancel or reschedule our plans, and I never take it personally.”

13. “I am a great makeup artist these days, and that comes in handy – my friends know I am a great one to help them try new hair and makeup, etc., because I work so hard to ‘not look how I feel.’ So shopping with me is great.”

14. “I know how to listen. Because I know how I would want others to just sit and listen to me.”

15. “I spend a lot of time watching documentaries and am a fountain of obscure knowledge. I understand when they’re not feeling their best, no matter how big or small the problem.”

16. “I know what being alone feels like and I don’t want my friends to ever feel that way. I’ve always been more empathetic, just my personality type but being sick for most of my life has increased that aspect. I’ve developed an incredibly snarky, sarcastic sense of humor that can make even the most dreadful situation humorous.”

17. “I make a great person when they just want someone to crawl into bed with and watch movies with because I spend so much time there already. I also love to share my love of reading so I share books with people all of the time.”

18. “I’m more understanding of illnesses. Even if it’s something common like the flu. If you don’t feel well and need to cancel, I’m perfectly fine with that.”

19. “I’m a cheap date! Catch-ups with my best friends are, more often than not, pajama parties. Cheesy movies, Prosecco (with water chasers for me), fluffy sheets and chat. Usually one-on-one, totally relaxed and if anything’s on their mind I’m totally happy to listen. I don’t have all the answers but sometimes it’s just enough to unload. I guess being with me offers a rare chance to slow down from their hectic lives!”

How does being chronically ill make you a great friend? Share in the comments below.

19 Reasons People With Chronic Illness Are Awesome Friends
Originally published: March 3, 2017
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