Being friends with someone who has a disability, or a chronic illness can be a challenge. Here are some helpful hints to help you navigate your relationship.


  1. Be understanding and listen to them without any judgements. Knowing who you can trust with sharing yourself and feelings without being judged can be a lifeline for some.
  1. Don’t assume you can Fix it – sometimes they just want to unburden themselves and are not looking for you to fix it.
  1. Be understanding – Illnesses are unpredictable, so don’t be upset when they have to cancel plans or do not answer your messages straight away
  1. Do you research – Learn more about their illness and what they are going through, this will help you to understand them better and be able to be helpful when they need it
  1. Offer them help - Ask if they need help with anything. Sometimes showing you care means a lot.
  1. Invite them to things. Being disabled can be so lonely as people don’t invite them to events/gatherings as it is easier to not have to accommodate them. Invite your friends to things even if you know they may not come. No one wants to feel excluded.
  1. Double check your schedule. If you invite them to catch up for coffee or grab a movie, try very hard not to change plans.
  1. Be respectful – Don’t make jokes about their disability or illness unless they specifically say its ok too. It’s never nice to be made fun of or reminded constantly that they are different.