A Guide to Helping Friends with Allergies (Part 3)
Living with severe allergies can be difficult for many people and one would be tempted to take pity on someone who’s in this kind of situation especially if that person is a friend.
But oftentimes, these people would find your pity to be off-putting and rather than appreciate your concern they might even balk at your supposed words of comfort. Because people with severe allergies would want nothing more than to just live a normal life.
Despite their condition they still want to be seen as normal and would want to be treated as one would treat any normal human being—not focusing on their maladies all the time. So if your friend is suffering from a severe skin allergy, one that even forces her to seek solace within her house for days, what you can do to help her is to simply listen to her talk about her condition and not offer any advice. Here’s why.
You don't know what they're going through.
Whenever we listen to someone speak about their trials we often say “I know what you’re going through” as a way to reassure them that whatever it is that they’re going through isn’t as exclusive as they would want to think.
It’s our way of telling someone “I went through the same thing and yet here I am—I survived.”
It’s a nice way to lend your support to someone going through a difficult phase in her life, but for people with severe skin allergies, it may not come across as such. Some people with severe skin conditions have something that can be rare that telling them you know what they’re going through might sound disingenuous.
If your friend has aquagenic urticaria, which is a skin condition that makes her allergic to water, then chances are you really don’t know what she’s going through because it’s a very rare condition.
What you can tell her though is “I can’t imagine what you’re going through, but I’m here to help in any way if you need me.”
Listen to them carefully
Most people with severe skin allergies prefer to keep a tight lid on their condition and rarely do they tell anyone about the severity of their situation. But once your friend starts telling you about her condition and what she has to go through listen intently and try to remember every detail she shares with you.
Reserve your advice for another time
Sometimes people like your friend just want someone to talk to about their condition and the last thing they need is someone offering them advice on a matter that not a lot of people can understand. It’s also important to listen to your friend carefully and try to remember every detail she shares because those details could be useful when you and your friend are trying to avoid activating her skin allergy.