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How to be a friend to an ill friend

Friday 10 October 2008
Grapes for the invalid

Grapes for the invalid

This is a great list, full of ideas – some of them very simple and low-cost – that we wouldn’t all have thought of.

I had come across the frozen-food idea (#22 here) before, in a different context: as a gift for a mother with a new baby. I wish i’d heard of it before i’d had my babies! Home-cooked meals ready to heat n eat, for the days when you’re stuck in your dressing gown till 4pm and can’t get both hands free at the same time to pour a coffee, let alone peel veg. Ah, nostalgia…

I’d add one valuable tip for friends of anyone struggling with illness or disability. ASK. Bring it out into the open, put it into words, ask what would be helpful. They won’t be offended by your not knowing what is help and what is interference; they know you haven’t got their experience. They will be touched (relieved, perhaps) that you care enough to find out. Even something as simple as, ‘Do you prefer to do things yourself or would it be nice if i carried that for you?’ If you’re at a loss, it’s safe to say so – they’re the expert on their own condition. And their state of mind.

It’s even safe to say, ‘I haven’t been in touch for ages because i didn’t know what to talk about with you.’ Chances are your friend will be glad to hear from you more than they’re sad you left it a while.

Because, whether we’re ill or not, the best gift to receive is straightforward friendship. Contact. Being there. Go on, do it this week.

Better still, do it bearing gifts!  ;0)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Wednesday 22 October 2008 9.45 pm

    Hi Mand!

    Thank you for your comments and well wishes on my new blog. I was away for a few days and was happy to come home to your comments.

    If you read my latest post you know I was in Hawaii for a friend’s wedding. She is a true representation in my life of a “straightforward” friend, and you are right, that is the best gift!

    I like that your blog has multiple personalities. I look forward to getting familiar with them all.

    Come back and visit me soon.


    Thanx, Dannette; hope you’re feeling recharged after your trip. It’s a relief that you like the multiplicity. I have wondered if it would put people off – and i can’t think in single strands!
    – mand

  2. nosleepingdog permalink
    Thursday 16 October 2008 5.37 pm


    Good post! I especially like your emphasis on how to be supportive yet respectful of the other person, not assuming they need a friend to rush in and take over/carry things/etc.

    Thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog post about fibromyalgia. So, never met a zookeeper? but now you have. You inspire me to write a bit one of these days about what it is like. Everyone is curious and has their own ideas about how cool it is to “work with animals”. And it is, but then there’s the zoo bureaucracy and such like.

    A friend of mine from my zookeeping days has just published her first book in a series of “zoodunit” mysteries, main character a female zookeeper, in case you are interested.
    Nightkill by Ann Littlewood.

    best wishes,


    Thanx for visiting – great to meet you!

    The ‘zoo bureaucracy and such like’… i suppose it’s like teaching, or anything. But at least you have the bureaucracy plus working with animals, instead of the bureaucracy plus just bureaucracy. 80)

    I’ll look out Night Kill, love the idea and i do read mysteries.
    – mand

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