For Friends

How can you help support a friend who has a chronic condition and/or disability?  We're glad you asked!

Living with a chronic condition and/or disability tends to be isolating, lonely and confusing, which is why friends are so important. Here are some guidelines for helping a friend. (Of course everyone is different, and there's no one how-to for supporting a friend. When in doubt, ask your friend.)

  • Learn about the situation.  Ask your friend whether he/she can provide information, or read up. The more you know, the better you'll understand.
  • Focus on all the things your friend can do, rather than any impairment.
  • Listen with compassion. You'll give your friend a gift if you just bear witness to what he/she experiences.
  • Encourage. You can help your friend maintain optimism even while dealing with chronic illness and/or disabilities.
  • Ask, "How can I help?" and make yourself available.
  • Develop a healthy balance between providing support to your friend and taking care of yourself.
  • Avoid giving unsolicited advice or judging by appearance.