Confessions of a Chronically Sick Mom: Being a Supportive Friend

Thank you to Plush Nail Bar for providing us with a giveaway for this post!

The following situations are based on my experiences. Please contact your doctor for any medical advice regarding your personal circumstance.

Being a Supportive Friend

The previous posts in this series have been directed to the chronically sick parent (Part One, Part Two, & Part 3). Friends and family, this one is for you. Stick around until the end of the article for an awesome giveaway from Plush Nail Bar!

Here are a few tips on how to be a supportive friend to someone who is chronically sick:

  • Ask “how are you?” in a Different Way: Most chronically sick people won’t tell you the truth when you ask them how they’re doing. Of course, it’s polite to ask people about themselves when you begin a conversation, so here are some other questions you could ask.
    • What’s new?
    • What have you been up to lately?
    • How’s your child doing?
    • How was your trip, your child’s concert, etc.?
    • What are your holiday plans?
  • Be Specific: Instead of asking if they need anything, offer something specific and have them pick the day or time.
    • I’d love to bring you coffee, which morning works for you?
    • My child has been missing yours. I’d love to come over and play outside with them while you have a few minutes to yourself.
    • I’m driving past your house later today, can I pick up anything at the grocery store for you?
    • I’m at Target, is do you need an extra pack of diapers, a gallon of milk, etc.?
  • Power of Suggestion: Let them know that you can be flexible to a last minute plan, so they can pick a time when they feel up to it. Suggest something that they might like to do (go out for lunch, park play date, pedicures, etc.).
  • Brush It Off: Don’t take it personally if they cancel plans at the last minute. They (probably) aren’t flakey. They’re just doing the best they can on that particular day.
  • Don’t be Nosey: There are a few personal questions that are especially uncomfortable to field when you’re chronically sick.
    • Avoid asking if they’ll have more kids. This is an incredibly personal question to ask anyone, but can be even more sensitive for a family dealing with a chronically sick parent. There may be fertility issues, financial struggles, and so much more weighing in on this topic.
    • Unless you really want to know what they’ve been up to, avoid asking what they spend their days doing or if they’ll go back to work.
  • Don’t be Rude: Although I’m sure it’s said with the best intention, try to avoid saying “at least you don’t have… (fill in a “worse” disease here).” To the chronically sick parent, it’s probably incredibly overwhelming to imagine a lifetime navigating their disease. I’m sure they do realize that it could be worse, but some things are best left unsaid.
  • Connect in Other Ways: Avoid saying “I’m tired too…” This one is probably said in an attempt to bond. Most parents of young kids are exhausted. The kind of exhaustion and pain that a chronically sick parent can face is much different than the exhaustion of sleepless nights with a young child. Remember, they’re parenting and dealing with debilitating health issues.
  • “My friend…”: There’s always someone who knows another person with a chronic illness. These conversations are usually well-meaning. Maybe you’re trying to give your chronically sick friend a connection to find support in or hope that their condition will improve, too. Try to remember that everyone’s sicknesses are different. Medication affects people differently. People have different symptoms, intensities, and triggers. While it may be nice to hear they aren’t alone, this can get into dangerous territory if they feel like you’re comparing them and their sickness to someone else.
  • Respect: If someone confides in you about their sickness, please keep it in confidence. Medical issues are so personal and private. Let them be the one to share the details of their condition when they’re ready. If you have questions, especially in regard to how you can help them, don’t be afraid to ask (but don’t be nosey!).
  • Find Support: Spouses, find someone to confide in (a friend, counselor, support group, etc.). It can be overwhelming to be a caregiver. Remember that you need to take care of yourself before you can care for someone else. Being a parent is tough enough. You have a lot on your plate with a child and a chronically sick spouse.

To the family and friends of chronically sick moms, know that the simplest gesture means so much. I’ll never forget the kindness of people who have genuinely offered to play with our daughter so I could go to a doctor appointment or take a nap to try to build up some extra energy. Supportive friends, remember to take care of yourself. Know that you are appreciated.

{GIVEAWAY} Do you know someone who could use a little extra support? 

Someone will win two spa pedicures from Plush Nail Bar to take a friend out, whether they are sick, or maybe just need some time away from the kids, we want to spoil someone! Contest will run through Friday, September 22. Winner will be randomly chosen and contacted by email. Open to AZ residents only. 

To Enter:

  1. COMMENT below! Who would you take with you and why?
  2. LIKE Plush Nail Bar and Scottsdale Moms on facebook! Leave a separate comment telling us. 

You can also find them on Instagram @PlushNailBarArizona.


  1. If I won, I’d like to bring my mom. She never takes the time to go out to get her nails done and totally deserves it as she’s been a teacher for over 30 yrs and has really sore feet!

  2. I would take out my, soon to be 85 year old mother. She has had minor health issues in the past, however, the last year or so has had cumulative health issues which are causing her to stay home more and worry more. It would be good for her to get out of the house for a nice treat from her daughter & Plus Nail Bar via SMB! Thanks for the above article.

  3. I would take my mother-in-law. She’s on a fixed income and just downsized her living conditions and has been in a series of depression, even with a grandchild about to be born any day now!

  4. I would take my friend Devin because I know she needs a little break as much as I do! She works so hard and takes care of her family and needs to take care of herself too!

  5. I would take a different person every time, finding a friend or even a stranger who needs a pick me up and some one on one time of someone caring about them.

  6. I would take my friend Melissa! She’s so sweet and loving and I haven’t had a chance to show her the kindness she has shown me lately. I think she would love this!

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