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Supporting a Friend That Has a Chronic Illness

I was watching this Brené Brown video about building trust in relationships (which is SO GOOD and you should stop right now and go watch it because everything she says is so insightful.)

Brené breaks down what she calls the "anatomy of trust" by using the acronym BRAVING.

B- Boundaries, R - Reliability, A - Accountability, V - Vault, I - Integrity, N - Nonjudgment, and G - Generosity.

So good.

Every single letter in this acronym just makes so much sense to me, but I couldn't help but think about how the "R" or "Reliability" aspect is nearly impossible for a person that is navigating a complex, chronic illness.

Because when you are dealing with a complicated health story, you just can't be reliable.

It's just the way it is.

You would like to be, but you just can't.

Sure, you'd like to be able to make it to your best friend's wedding, but you wake up with an unexpected migraine that insists you lay in bed with ice on your head and the lights out for three straight days.

Sure, you'd like to be able to do lunch on Wednesday, but you end up having a debilitating allergic reaction to the new lotion you thought you'd do fine on because all the ingredients said "natural".

Sure, you'd like to be able to go to the movies on Saturday, but you end up completely wiped out by all the critical paperwork you had to get done for the disability attorney.

It's just an impossible situation.

I've personally lost a lot of friends because of it.

People don't really appreciate being let down over and over again.

And I get it.

Why would anyone want to be friends with someone that can't commit?

But what I have seen, is that the friends who have learned to let go of expectations from me, are basically pure gold.

They are pure, beautiful, shiny gold.

They are the ones that say, "It's ok if you have to cancel last minute. It's ok if I don't hear from you for a while. It's ok if you can't do what you said you wanted to do. I love you. I am here for you. I am sorry you have to navigate a crappy situation."

These people are priceless.

And honestly, these are the friends that are building up trust in ALL the other areas of the BRAVING acronym and become your favorite people. (Which tend to be only a small handful, by the way.)

Yay for the supportive ones!

They are the best.


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