Things you Should Say to Your Friend with Arthritis

The fact of the matter is that your friend with arthritis, or any chronic illness, does NOT want your pity. If they talk about their pain in front of you it’s not to get your attention or to make you feel sorry for them; they’re doing so because this is their life and if you’re their friend you’re a part of it too. So here’s a guide for all the friends out there who don’t know how to react to their friend’s chronic illness.
  • “How have you really been feeling…. and don’t say fine”. If your friend is at all worried about being seen as an attention seeker they will usually tell you they’re feeling fine. Guess what?! They’re most likely not fine. Even if their disease isn’t flaring there’s never a dull moment with chronic illness. Ask them! Make sure they know you care how they are feeling and they’ll be more likely to open up in the future.
  • “I’m sorry you can’t make it, but I’m glad you’re taking care of yourself. Whenever you’re up for it we can hang out”. If you have a friend with arthritis you know they aren’t always up for long days at the mall, days at the beach, or even sleepovers. Depending on their diagnosis they may experience extreme fatigue, sensitivity to the sun, and might even have trouble sleeping due to the pain. Keep these things in mind when making plans with your friend. When they can’t make it to something let them know you’ll miss them and will make plans again very soon!
  • “I’m sorry you’re not feeling well, how can I help?” If your friend is pretty open with you about their disease and pain and they let you know you’re not feeling well this is a great response. It shows that you care, you’re acknowledging their pain, and offering assistance. Even the smallest thing may brighten their day. Like bringing them coffee, lunch, picking up some groceries for them, or even going to their place to watch a movie.
  • “I believe you and I will always be here for you” This is a really powerful statement to say to someone with a chronic illness. It again acknowledges their pain and lets the know you are listening and there to support them. A lot of times people with arthritis and other chronic illnesses are questioned by doctors, family and friends. Invisible illnesses are hard to diagnose and even harder to understand. Letting them know you believe them is sometimes all they need to hear.
  • “You are strong”. You are courageous, you are brave, you are tough… the list goes on. I promise you anyone with arthritis or any chronic illness could use this reminder in their life. These three words can mean so much coming from a friend.

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