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I have a very generous friend who lives down the hall from me, brings me gluten-free food, drives me places sometimes, and even picked a big bag of apples for me at a local orchard. Yesterday afternoon, she called to say her car wouldn't start, and could I come down and give her a jump. I did, she drove to the shop and got a new battery, and I drove around for 10 minutes or so to be sure my battery had enough juice to start the car next time. It was really tiring, but I was happy to do it for her.

This morning, her car won't start again. She can get by without it this morning, but I'm trying to decide whether I can afford the energy to help her again this afternoon. At the very least, I know I'm going to have to tell her I can't pick her up from the shop after she drops off her car, which is hard, because I don't think she understands what a big deal that is for me.

Do you all have any suggestions for how to say no without seeming ungenerous? I don't think she'll be upset with me, so I guess it's really a matter of not wanting her to think I don't care, or I don't appreciate the things she does for me. I hate feeling like I can't reciprocate.


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Hey Quite_Spike,

Does she know enough about why you are sick/what you are sick with? If yes, then you could just let her know that you took a turn for the worse today/since last night, and can barely get off the couch for anything today. And that if you did go out, you risk fainting while driving, etc. Obviously, honesty is the best policy, and it sounds as if she has some understanding of your illness to be able to understand why you cannot drive her anywhere today.

You'll think of the right way to tell her, I'm sure of it, but I wanted you to know that we understand (more than just me, I'm sure) about dilemmas we put ourselves into just to be genuinely nice and then we get sick from doing it...so many of us are not strangers to that at all, as you know.

Good Luck,


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Thank you, Sarah. I sometimes just need that affirmation from someone else who's been there. I think I need to explain a little more to my friends about the variability of my symptoms, and that just because they see me doing something once doesn't mean I'll always be able to do that.

As it happens, she already found somebody else to help. She just knocked on my door to see if she could borrow my jumper cables, so I'm off the hook!


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Hey Spike,

I think it's very important to be honest, not only with your friend, but with yourself. I need to listen to my own advise though. :P I'm always pushing myself too far......

You could always get a thank you card for your friend to let them know you do appreciate the things they do for you, then maybe you wont feel so guilty by saying no because you don't FEEL up to it.

Best of luck in the future, take care,


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I am glad you are off the hook. Could you just explain that some days you are more lightheaded and dizzy and can't drive those days? That's what I would say. It is the truth in many of our cases.

Also, sounds like she may have a bad alternator if two batteries died in two days.

Glad you have a nice neighbor. I had some in my apartment where I used to live.

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Glad you are off the hook too!

Those types of dilemnas are so hard...I think people just don't realize that those sort of physical things take such a toll. I know that I 'look' healthy when I've got my blush on, etc. and when I do get up to move, I suppose I 'look' perfectly normal, but no one really knows how much effort it takes or how quickly I will tire or pay later....

It's hard to explain to folks...but I guess the best thing I could think of was to say that you would LOVE to help, and you hate so much that you are unable to help with that sort of favor--but physically, you can not do it. Thank her and reaffirm how much you appreciate her generosity and that you wish you could help out but can't with this particular favor. Maybe there is another thing you can help with? Or maybe, she'll just 'get it' and she'll know and that will be that?


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I'm glad the situation worked out and you're off the hook. I do understand what you mean.. you WANT to help. but just aren't capable sometimes. It's hard for people to understand.

My suggestion was going to be making other arrangements for her. Like calling a cab or tow service or whatever was needed, setting something up by phone, so she isn't stressed out and you are doing a favor by meeting her need, just in a different way.

Glad it all worked out anyway. :P

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Thanks, guys.

I suspect that my friends understand more than I give them credit for. They generally only see me when I'm up and around and doing things, so they don't know that I may have spent the whole day resting so I can go out in the evening, or something like that. But they probably know me well enough to know I would help if I could. I'm trying to learn to be more selfish with my energy, and to put not feeling like **** higher on my list of priorities.


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Hi Spike , just done exactly what you wrote............rested in order to be up when my son comes in from college. :D

The trouble is that when people see us all 'sweetness and life ' they just forget that in order to look like this we have probably laid in bed all day ++ where as they can just 'get up and go ' at any time they like , we have to plan our days like some military campaign :o

Energy..........check. Tablets.........check. Drinks.........check. Mobile.........check. Gloves in case of cold ...............check. Walking stick..............check................... :P

I get so many people ask me ' can you just run me to ..........here , there and everywhere' because my cars broken down , its raining or they haven't got the car today ( we live in an isolated village ) and when I say I cant because I'm in bed or got my head down the loo inspecting the water level :lol: they ask why am I doing this :D

Unfortunately people can be so forgetful and at times self centred.

Even family can do this and I remember my daughter asking me to take her to the doctors one day, I agreed to do this, then turning to quickly on the front door step I became dizzy and fell ...........breaking my right ankle :angry: her concern was not for me , who was sicking all over the place and in agony , but for how she was going to have to take a bus now !!!!!! and she even asked me 'why did you do that ' :o:o

You see even family forget that our illness is not ' temporary' or 'a one off event' or 'a bug that will go' and sometimes friends and family try to ignore the fact that what you have really does effect you so much , in so many ways, for so long.

I think schools and colleges should do a course for kids on disabilities and how it effects the person , the family and life in general , because most non disabled people haven't got a clue.

You have to be honest with people all the time , I just say to them ' if I'm up and on my feet , feeling well then no problem, BUT if I'm unwell or not feeling what I class as 100% I will not drive anywhere as its not just my own life I risk , but yours and everyone else on the road, paths and around...........what can they say after that :P

You are like me spike , you feel guilty when you can't give back what is given to you , but Spike what they have to remember is that they are always well and can do what they want when they want , where as you are always ill, and so have to pace yourself at a slower rate every single day.

Dont feel guilty you didnt ask for this condition.

Willows......................... :P

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