Going through a medical crisis is hard enough on its own. Combine that strain with being a young adult whose friends may be struggling to relate to an illness and, man, it’s a tough spot to be in. We’ve been there and have compiled a few tips to help you teach your friends how to be supportive.

Be Patient

This is a learning curve for everyone, your friends included. Acknowledging that they will make mistakes as they try to love you through this is the very first step toward growing your friendship! Give your pals and yourself a little grace.


Be Honest

Talking with your friends about what you’re going through is the best way to show them how to be supportive.  They may not be able to relate directly but venting a bit will give you some relief and give your friends some insight on where your head’s at. Being honest about what you are feeling and thinking is important not only for you but also for your relationships. Your friends need to know you are looking for support in order to give their support.


Let Them Help

Your friends may need you to tell them what you need. If you want someone to watch trashy reality TV with this week, ask for it. If you don’t think you’ll be up to making dinner next Friday, ask your friend who loves to meal prep if she’s able drop something off. If you just need someone to vent to, tell a friend so that she knows you are looking for a listening ear.  It’s also okay to ask to be alone; we all need solitude at times.

We can’t guarantee someone will always be available immediately, but by describing what you need to your friends, it shows them how to best support you moving forward.


Little Things

Acknowledging the little things your friends do affirms to them that you appreciate the thoughtfulness and support. Sending a text, letting you vent, bringing you candy – these may seem like small acts but they break the seal into “supportive friend” territory and can go a long way toward brightening your day. Let your friends know their little acts of love make a big difference and show your appreciation to encourage their continual involvement. A little gratitude makes a huge difference in motivating your loved ones and leading them down the path of being a supportive friend.


What have your friends done to support you? We want to hear about your experience at our next Vita Collective gathering! Join us on May 24th for a grill-out and expand your supportive friend circle with young adults who can relate to your experiences. Contact Janna Sikma for more details about this fun get-together!