Importance of friends checking on you when you're sick

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Two friends share a joke together on a sofa indicating the importance of friends checking on you when you're sick.

The importance of friends checking on you when you're sick

Fostering empathy and understanding in friendships

I want to share a personal experience that many of us may have faced: friends who don't check on you when you're sick. As a woman dealing with anxiety, depression, and autoimmune disease, I understand firsthand the impact of feeling forgotten during difficult times. In this blog post, I emphasize why it is crucial for friends to stay connected and support each other, especially when one is going through an illness. So, please grab a cup of tea and dive in!

"You know who your friends are when you're sick"

The initial disappearance of friends

When I became very ill, I noticed a gradual disappearance of the friendships I had built. Initially, there was a drop-off, where friends I thought were close suddenly seemed distant and unreachable. While some of these friendships were more on the periphery, a few had attended my birthday party just three months prior.

In a way, the sudden absence masked their disappearance as I clung to the hope that once I got better, everything would return to normal. Unfortunately, time passed, and my illness persisted, leading to the realization that these friendships may never return. Feeling the compatibility between chronic illness and friendships slipping away was disheartening. You know who your friends are when your sick.

The importance of connection with friends

During this time, I made numerous attempts to reach out to my friends online, hoping for some form of connection. However, most of the responses I received were short-lived, leaving me feeling even lonelier. It's incredibly isolating to try reaching out to a friend only to feel like they don't care or aren't there for you. Occasionally, they would express interest in visiting but then disappear for months on end. It felt as if they had temporarily satisfied their need for connection and returned to their lives without considering that I didn't have that luxury.

The impact of inconsistent support from friends

Now, let's talk about the impact of inconsistent support from friends. The final blow came during my twelfth year of battling chronic illness. Some friends claimed they were too busy studying to talk or visit, yet they seemed to find time for sports, parties, and other social activities. The logical excuse of proximity didn't hold up either, as I lived relatively close by and could only manage short visits. It became evident that the commitment to our friendship had diminished, and the compatibility of chronic illness and friendships became even more challenging.

"True friends when you are sick are those who stand unwaveringly beside you, providing love, assistance, and a comforting presence throughout your illness."

The exceptional friend that was there for me

Amongst these experiences, one friend stood out—the one who went above and beyond. Although we weren't the closest in our prior friendship group, she consistently tried to stay in contact with me throughout the years. Even when I sporadically showed up at school to attend a class, she would neglect her own work to help me catch up. Her thoughtfulness extended beyond that, with random gifts and unwavering support. Our lives and interests may have changed, but her genuine care and occasional visits kept the flame of our friendship alive.

"True friendship shines brightest in the moments when friends recognize the importance of checking on you during challenging times."

The need for thoughtful supportive friends

Let's pause for a moment and reflect on the importance of friends checking up on each other, especially during illness. When you're sick, reaching out can be incredibly challenging, and nothing exacerbates the feeling of loneliness like receiving no response. Spending time together in person can be wonderful for both parties involved. It's crucial to acknowledge the person's differences and limitations while still seeing them through the lens of the friendship you've cultivated over the years. Small acts of kindness, like bringing them gifts, making them a meal, or inviting them to events, can make them feel valued and remind them that they haven't been forgotten. And if you are pressed for time, just showing up is also a sign of being a thoughtful supportive friend.

Breaking the cycle of not checking on sick friends

Trust me. The older you get you will find yourself in a position where a friend suddenly becomes ill or disabled. No matter what, don't hesitate to reach out to them in any way you can. The importance of friends checking on you when you're sick can never be over-estimatedConsistency here is key. In our technology-filled world, there are numerous communication avenues, such as texting, emailing, or social media. Use your smartphone to set reminders and ensure you check in regularly. And if the chronically ill or disabled person reaches out to you, try to engage in meaningful conversations. 

Understanding, compassion and empathy for your friends

Remember, none of us are perfect. I am far from it. So it's important not to assign blame when friendship connections become strained or even break. Most friends who don't check on you when you're sick aren't doing it intentionally. Rather, they might be ignorant or unaware of the impact their actions—or lack thereof—can have. Most do not know the importance of friends checking on you're sick. Instead of harboring resentment, let's encourage conscious, understanding, and thoughtful behavior. By fostering a more empathetic society, we can collectively support those facing chronic illness or disability and ensure fewer friendships fall through the cracks.

"Amidst the storm of sickness, the warmth of true friendship emerges, reminding us of the profound importance of friends checking on you when you're sick."

As I reflect on my journey, I've come to accept that chronic illness and friendships can be a challenging mix. While it may be difficult for me to make new friends due to the limitations imposed by my health, I take solace in the connections I still have. And who knows, perhaps one day, I'll forge new friendships with people who see and appreciate the person I've become. But until then, let's strive to be friends who check on each other and provide comfort and support when needed. 

Together, we can create a world where no one feels forgotten or alone during their darkest times. Stay kind and connected, and remember to check in on your friends, especially when they are sick.

Article by
Alicia Mayberry

Alicia Mayberry, the author of the "Importance of Friends Checking on You When You're Sick," defies challenges posed by autism, anxiety, depression, and an auto-immune condition.


"The importance of friends checking on you when you're sick can never be over-estimated." | ©2Design / Adobe Stock