How do you put up with well meaning friends?

On more than one occasion over the last few weeks friends have said things to me like ‘Oh it’s nothing compared to what your dealing with’ and ‘you have it much worse’. Now i know these are well meaning comments, but man they rub me up the wrong way. Yes I have MS but i’m doing ok and I am not as bad as some people are.

I try really hard not to talk about my MS to friends all the time - that’s what i do here! Just don’t see the need to ‘degree’ peoples problems. To me no matter what the situation, size or shape of the problem - they are still that problems, everyone has them. I DON’T WANT PEOPLES PITY.

My temper is also a lot shorter than it used to be (just ask my poor hubby!) and i’m finding it increasingly difficult not to fly off the handle at these ‘well meaning’ people. Anyone had similar problems and have any tips for explaining to people how much this annoys me or how to graciously accept it without losing friends? Or do i need an anger managment class?!

Thanks, Laura x

I just try to take offence only where offence is meant. Most people are just muddling along, doing their best. I would suggest saving energy by shrugging off the well-meant stuff and keeping your powder dry for the other sort. Alison.

Have you tried talking to them about how it can make you feel? As you say, they’re well meaning, but they’re never going to know different unless they’re told. I certainly wouldn’t recommend trying to bottle it up (at least, not all the time), as that may well be contributing to having a shorter temper. Our feelings are valid, and as good as many of us are at trying to suppress them, chances are they’ll come out somewhere. Of course, that means having to actually have potentially awkward conversations with people about feelings, which feels terribly un-British. Our national psyche means we’d rather be reserved and keep a stiff upper lip.There’s a time & place for that of course, but it’s not always the best option.

Good luck!


Hi Laura,

I think you need to focus on the “well meaning” bit, and realise that what you might see as “harping on” is them being extra careful NOT to seem to trivialise things.

Believe me: “Isn’t it lucky you’re unaffected!” just because you’re doing OK/not disabled in ways anyone can see is just as galling, if not more so. At least your friends are making an effort to show they do realise it’s non-trivial, instead of saying: “Great! You still wear lipstick! Good to see there’s nothing wrong with you!”, as if sick people somehow wouldn’t try to look nice when they went out. This comes across as ignorantly dismissive (“If I can’t see it, it doesn’t exist”), or even a vague accusation of lying (“You don’t look ill, so surely you must be lying/exaggerating?”)

If someone persistently comes out with really barking-mad comments, that wind you up every time, you might have to question how much you really want to keep the friendship, and whether it’s worth putting up with that all the time. But if they’re just trying to show solidarity, by emphasisisng they don’t underestimate your difficulties, that’s probably a bit drastic.



Thanks, you are all right. I need to take it a face value that they are just trying to connect with me - maybe it wouldn’t hurt to have a chat with the closest friends.

I seem to be so up and down in my mood at the moment. I can’t trust what i’m feeling as i don’t know whether im making a big deal out of nothing or if I should be feeling something. Just feeling not like myself, everything is getting to me.

Thanks for your help


I know where you are coming from with this Laura.

My mother is the worst at doing this. Whenever we go out as a family she insists on running in before I get to the door and tell everyone that her daughter is coming into the room and she has MS. Poor thing!! Even at the supermarket checkout the checkout operator knows my life story regarding my MS from being diagnosed 8 years ago. Even down to me having to use a catheter so “could she please put the shopping through fast in case I am caught short”.

And the worst was when we moved into a bungalow and while we were moving in the neighbours on both sides said “Sorry to hear about your MS. If there is anything we can do…” . Very sweet of them but I would rather have told them in my own time. When I got to know the neighbours better they told me that my mum had knocked on their doors a couple of days before we moved in to let them know.

I know she means well but it does grate. I have told her now not to do it and it has got better.

Hope this has helped Laura and try and let your friends know that it annoys you.

Take care.

Shazzie xx

Oh what to do…whenever someone says to me well its not as bad as you but…` or

I have this pain, but I know yours is much worse`…I always say that their problems are just as important as mine and make sure they know I mean it.

As for new neighbours being forewarned of a disabled person moving onto their midst, reminds me of a biblical film and the leper colony. We dont want to have MS or anything else tattooed on our heads, do we?

Sometimes, well meaning friends can feel lost as to how to treat us/what to say to us. They can become a bit kind of, well suffocating, but they really dont know what else to do, bless `em.

I guess the way your friends are acting Laura, is better than them ignoring you. I know you dont want pity…I dont…what I do want is understanding and then being treated like very other normal person…hate that N word!

Perhaps the reason you`re feeling less tolerant is an underlying bad time in your health, eh?

luv Pollx

Thank you Shazzie.

I know it’s not the biggest problem in the world, having friends that care about you and want to help understand my illness. However i think part of my problem with it is, I wish i wasn’t ‘the sick friend’. I just want things to be how they were pre-dx, which i know can’t really happen.

I will speak to them like you and Dan suggested. I am getting short-tempered with it, however i think that’s stress and sadness finding their way out and becoming anger as i’m most of the time a strong person who doesn’t like being given sympathy, not because i have a ‘temper problem’.

I’m still getting my head round my dx in Feb and i guess this is just another element to overcome.

Thank you for your support - it means a lot. Laura xx

You are very welcome Laura.

That’s what we are all on here for to give support when we can and to get support when we need it. Simplessss!

Take care.

Shazzie xx

Thanks Poll - that’s it exactly - I just want to be ‘normal’ (if you find out what that is please let me know!)

I don’t think my rebif is helping, my mood seems to be going downhill fast and to be honest feel like im drowning in misery, i’m probably reflecting it back on those closest to me. Don’t really know what to do for the best!

Will have a good chat with my besties and see if I can get them to understand.

Hope your doing ok Poll?

Laura xx

Laura, if you think your rebif is having unpleasant side effects, why not speak to your MS nurse about it?

Have you been on it a while?

I aint so great hun. Got stabbing pains in tum …think it is internal bruising from spc op…even tho` it is weeks since it was done…district nurses have changed the catheter, so it isnt that itself.

Got sore big toenail again and surgery is beckoning…eek!

Leg aches from flop foot.

Going on jolies next week, so here we go…ere we go…ere we go…ooo!

This year`s been not so great for my ???. Seeing a new neuro soon. Gonna give her a challenge!


I have told her my mood is up and down and she said she will chase up my counselling referral (referred in March).

I keep hoping it will pass, been on rebif for about 2 months now, so hopefully it’s a side effect of the ‘bedding in’ period and my mood could improve.

I’m sorry you are having a hard time of things, it doesn’t seem fair. I hope the new neuro has some good ideas for you :slight_smile:

Hope you have a nice break away wherever you are going? I’m sure you will, bet you could have a good time anywhere!!

Laura xx