Losing friends, at any age is hard, but it feels even harder when it happens in your teens, at school, and even harder when you’re chronically ill.
I got glandular fever when I was 16, just before all my exams that year and consequently missed them all. I decided to leave the school I was at and start at a new school. This decision took a long time for me to make because I loved all my friends at my school so much, I really didn’t want to leave them. But I had to put my health first and this new school was much closer to home and my brother already went there so it was much more convenient.
Because of this though, I lost all my friends from my old school. It was literally ‘out of sight, out of mind’. I had been gone for no less than a month before they stopped replying to messages, stopped asking how I was, and stopped being a friend in general. I was too ill to travel to see them all the time, and I was struggling to keep up with messages that eventually, they just stopped trying altogether. At the time, this absolutely broke my heart and I couldn’t understand how people could go from best friends to practically strangers in a matter of weeks.
Because of this though, I learnt some valuable lessons, which I can now share with you.
SEE IT FROM THEIR PERSPECTIVE
This is hard, especially if you’re cooped up in bed, too ill to leave the house and your friends have stopped talking to you. But try to see it from their perspective. Their friend has basically disappeared off the face of the earth, she can’t see you anymore because she’s ill and it’s hard to even keep in touch with her because she can’t go on her phone all the time. Then you’ve got exams coming up, other friends to see, parties to go to and slowly that friend that went off school ill just fades into the background. I’m not saying it’s right, and I’m not saying it’s fair, but it’s understandable, right?
TRUE FRIENDS WILL STICK BY YOU THROUGH EVERYTHING
Ok, so I lost my friends from school – but 7 years on, has that affected me that much? Not at all. I still have my childhood friends who stuck by me through everything, even when they really struggled to understand. Those are the friends who you can go months and months without talking and just pick up from where you left off. Those are your real friends. If it’s that easy for your ‘friends’ to forget about you, then maybe they weren’t true friends to begin with!
REMEMBER THAT IT ISN’T YOUR FAULT
It’s easy to think that it’s your fault, that’s why you’ve lost your friends, because you did something wrong. This couldn’t be further from the truth. If you’re ill, it’s not your fault that you can’t meet up all the time, that you can’t be constantly checking your phone for messages. You’ve got to put yourself first and the friends who love you unconditionally, will understand and accept that, and those that don’t, you don’t need them in your life!
REMEMBER THAT YOU WILL MAKE NEW FRIENDS
I thought it was the end of the world when my friends at school drifted away, I was convinced that it was my fault and that I would never make any other friends. Truth is, I found people that I’m even closer to now. One of my best friends I met at the new school, and another two I met at Uni! You have so much of your life left ahead of you, you will not be friendless for long. Try and join a new club if you can, or if you can’t definitely get online! Just have faith that you will make more friends, and they will come when you least expect it.
START A BLOG, TWITTER OR INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT!
If you’re struggling to keep friends, or even make friends when you’re chronically ill, I highly recommend joining an online community! You will find people that have such similar interests as you, and if you get to know people in the chronic illness community, you will find people who do understand exactly what it is like and are going through the same things as you are! I have made some truly amazing friends through blogging and they are the most supportive bunch of people!
I really hope these little tips and reminders help you, and if you are going through something similar, I am so sorry! I know exactly what it feels like and it is truly horrible. Stay strong and look after yourself! Come and say hi to me on Instagram (@amylivingwithme) and let’s have a chat!