How do you manage it? Or do you no longer try? I find that strong friendships really improve the emotional burden of this illness, and I suspect that's universal. Unfortunately, with my limited energy, I often can't be a very good friend, which I also suspect is fairly universal and completely understandable. However, that doesn't change the fact that I need one. Hence the attempts at close friendships with the healthy. How does that even work? I've had such friendships before, but they've faded out because the person couldn't take it anymore, which I can understand. I've flat-out told people that I am in need of friendship and have worked so hard to make it work...and it just doesn't. Why doesn't it? Conversations tend to not work very well because I can't seem to manage small talk...all the things normal people casually talk about don't work for me because I don't do all those things, and frankly they seem pretty trivial when I'm in a lot of pain, fighting life-threatening reactions and excited about wearing a gas mask. A lot of people are uncomfortable talking about my condition or hearing me talk about it, but every subject inevitably winds back on my end to how my condition influences the matter. Yeah, that drives me crazy too, at least you aren't the one that has to live with it (I've never actually said that to anyone, but I've thought it). For people who seem open and accepting of it I try to break the ice by welcoming questions and giving them openings to ask about things if interested, but they just act like there's no ice to break and continue ignoring the subject. When I find someone who wants a closer friendship with me, I invest in that person. I learn their struggles and hardships, I pray for them, I encourage them, I think of what it's like for them, I share their burdens and ask them about it the next day. I'm told that I'm this amazing friend. And I watch as the weeks and months go by and said person has displayed zero interest in getting to know what my life is like or what my burdens are beyond the cursory "How are you?". In the past I've just let such interactions fade away....this time I tried blunt talking about it, since the person likes honesty. Her answer was that she is interested, she just doesn't have any questions to ask me about it. She's assured me that she'll think of some and write down a list of them and, "next time we talk, I'll come prepared." I appreciate her efforts, and this is nothing against her, it's just that I long for a friendship where people try to get to know you without prompting and without having to write a questionaire in order to learn about how your life is upside down and inside out. She knows the basics and just hasn't thought to ask about anything else, even when I've told her it would help to talk about it. It's so humiliating to be needy. And yet that's what years of isolation have done to me. Can anyone relate? I've mastered the art of successful acquaintences with healthy people by translating my responses into things they can understand and relate to. I'm thankful for that. But anything deeper and I just haven't figured out how to make it work. It has not been for lack of trying. What has been everyone else's experience with this? As for those with chronic illness, even other than ME/CFS, there's an instant connectivity that makes this entire thing a non-issue. I'm glad for that.