How to tell your friends or family you have RA

Telling Friends and Family

Guest Blog by Suruthi Gnanenthiran (@fightrheumatoidarthritis)

Having a rheumatic condition can be difficult as it affects many aspects of your life, including your friendships. Although it can be nerve-wracking to tell other people about your condition, it can also be really beneficial as your friends may be able to understand your struggles and support you better. So if you’ve decided to take the plunge and tell your nearest and dearest, here are some tips to help.

1) Set the Scene 

Wait for the right time. You don’t want to blurt it out as you part ways at a bus stop or whisper it whilst you’re with other people. Choose a quiet place where you can be alone with your friend(s) and have a proper discussion. This also highlights to your friends that this is an important conversation for you.

2) Tell them your symptoms/diagnosis 

Not everyone will have a diagnosis, and this shouldn’t stop you sharing your experience with your friends. However, people can be affected differently by the same condition so sharing how you are impacted can help your loved ones understand what you are going through!

3) Use resources to help 

Sometimes it can be tricky to find the words to say how we are feeling or it can be tricky or tiring to explain it all. Using resources from charities and info graphics can make that a little easier for you!

4) Tell them what helps and what doesn’t 

Sharing your triggers and your comforts when flaring can be useful information for your friends. They often want to help us but don’t know how, so by sharing that with them, it means they can support you better and know what works and what doesn’t! If you have a few suggestions of how they can help you, feel free to share them with your friend(s).

5) Don’t feel obliged to share

Just because you’ve known someone a long time, doesn’t mean you’re obliged to tell them about your condition. No-one is entitled to your medical history and the choice is all yours!

6) Take it slowly 

This is a big conversation and it can feel quite daunting. There’s no reason why you can’t have several smaller conversations instead of one big one. It might make it a bit easier for you to explain and answer any questions your friend may have! Take things at a pace you feel comfortable with.

These are just a few tips to help you tell your friends but ultimately, you know best what to share!

Did this blog help you open up to your loved ones? Be sure to share the love with Suruthi on Instagram and follow her for more tips and advice. To stay up to date with our blog and everything RA, remember to follow NRAS on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

If you’re new to RA and are worried about going to a consultation, please watch our new livestream with Tracy French, where she outlines what to expect and how to approach your early RA journey.