Things you should definitely say to a person with an invisible BFF
Hello BFFs! This post has been wanting to get out of my brain and on to the interweb for many moons, and it feels good to finally be writing it! My goal is to write this for spoonies everywhere and their families/friends, with a minor amount of snark to keep it interesting.
The following is intended to be sort of a guide; like the gift that keeps on giving the whole year!
Most of the these comments and questions I have gotten myself, or some version of it. Mainly from well-meaning folks-
-but, commence eye roll in 3, 2, 1...
This is a list of some common things that you should definitely say to your friend who has an iBFF (invisible/visible chronic illness), *sarcasm, cough, cough*:
- When will you be better?
- What surgery are you recovering from?
- You don’t seem sick.
- What do you do with all of your free time?
- You cancel too much. Let’s plan a get together so you can actually come!
- You look fine to me!
- What did you do today? Wow only, hmmm...
- Dr. Axe says...
- Have you tried...
- I get (x, y, z, symptom) too!
Again, well-meaning, but these tend to make me and my fellow spoonies cringe under our smiles and nods, and blankies.
Instead, you should try these:
- Ask "How are you doing at the moment?" (It could change if you ask them in ten minutes...)
- Say "I can’t imagine what you go through, can I help in any way?" (you yourself may be on a monster of a health journey—it’s important to remember that everyone has their own story and helping others' having a rougher time than you is the jam!)
- Talk about your favorite shows to power watch (notice I dislike the word binge as it is often associated with disordered eating, you may want to add to your streaming vocabulary!)
- Ask "Did you do what you were able today?" Or "It sounds like you were pretty fatigued today, hopefully you’ll wake up with more spoons tomorrow." Become familiar with spoon theory, or use the battery or gas tank metaphors.
- Do a little something extra to pump up the jam...introduce them to new music or a podcast they might love, or get them a funny/real talk card from Emily McDowell.
- Do something nice like shovel the driveway or mow the lawn without being asked. Asking for help was one of the biggest hurdles I had to get over; I spend 90% of my day articulating my needs, and it's exhausting! I think a lot of people would agree, it's really nice to have a spontaneous thing done for you!
- MOST IMPORTANTLY: learn about their illness and *gasp* talk to them about it. Trust me, there’s nothing better than not having to explain your diagnoses to all the medical professionals, family, and the occasional nosy DMV clerk (ugh, true story). It will mean the world to them!
—all in all, it’s really hard having an invisible BFF. Please don’t make it even more difficult and anxiety producing by following the cynical first list if you can avoid it. We thank you for reading this!! (I speak for all spoonies now! At least for now...)
every spoonie + iBFF ever.
Ps: new to my site? Start here
PPs: Need support & upliftment from other fun invisible & chronic illness/disability peeps who get it? join our closed invisible/chronic illness FB group here