In our meeting on relationships we discussed the topic of relationships with family and friends and how to handle specific circumstances. We discussed certain scenarios and how having a condition affected these relationships which included relationships with;

  1. Family/Partner/ Children
  2. Friends/making new friends and the feeling of isolation
  3. Work/University
  4. Family events such as a wedding
If you need any support there are some useful contacts for Life Coach Directory and Relate which can be found at the bottom of the page. 


1. Family/Partner and Children

The key to the relationships for this is Communication, talking to each other and explaining how the condition affects you and also informing your family member things they can do to help.


Things to consider when talking to someone


·         *Think about who the person is!
Are you comfortable talking to them openly, or do you need to be tactful with how you word things?

·         When and where would be a good time and place to catch them at their best?

·         How does this person usually like to communicate? Are they loud and jokey or quiet and serious?

One of the most difficult hurdles for most relationships is appreciating that other people may not think the same way as you do. 

2.Talking with children

Sometimes it’s difficult to get kids to sit down and be quiet for long enough to listen. Other times, they might get a bit withdrawn and sullen and it's difficult to find out what’s wrong. Try waiting until just before bed when they’re calm and if you’ve got something you need to talk about, introduce it slowly at their own pace.

If they’re quiet and withdrawn, wait until they’re busy playing and join in with them for a while and then you could raise what it is you need to talk about. Sometimes children become withdrawn as a sign of stress, so there might be something wrong.

3.Talking to Partner
Communication problems with your partner can be very common. It can often help to focus on the way you speak to each other to avoid being misunderstood.

 Try being specific about what the issue is and how you think it can be resolved. Stay focused on what you want to discuss. Planning what you want to talk about beforehand can help - if you stick to the plan!

 If you're worried about seeming like you're moaning or nagging, have an idea of what you think a solution might look like. For example if food shopping and housework is a major factor of the problem suggestions like online shopping or getting a cleaner to come and help on a regular basis may help.

 Where and when would be a good opportunity to catch your partner at their best? Think about what's worked for you in the past and try to recreate that.

 Plan a time limit - something between 20 - 45 minutes is reasonable - and stick to it! If you don’t resolve the issue, agree to come back to it soon, and make sure you do something fun together when your time slot is up.

 It can be really tricky when you are struggling to talk though something really important. If you feel that things still aren’t getting through, try taking a step back. Ask your partner what they think and what solutions they might see.

Remember that a discussion means listening to your partner/family member as well as thinking about what you want to say when your turn comes. Reaching a solution you’re happy with may mean making a sacrifice on what you might ideally want, so think about what your sacrifice might be.

 4. What about Distant family, friends and work colleagues?

 It can be difficult to talk openly with family members you may not be on such close terms with, so it might help to consider other ways of communicating rather than wait until you next see them face to face.

Think about writing a letter or e-mail, or speaking to them via Facebook (with a private message rather than a post on their wall!) This could help you to plan what you want to say, and be able to reflect on how it sounds by reading it back before you send it.

Including some possible solutions will help make things clear and move the conversation forward.

Things that could help:-

 *If you use 'I' statements like 'I think' or 'I feel' rather than talking about what the other person is doing, you're more likely to get your point across without seeming overbearing.

 *Also, you might like to try phrasing your thoughts as questions, like 'I wonder if...' to show you're open to their thoughts and ideas, and are willing to compromise to find a solution.

 Stopping arguments or getting someone to listen –

Have a go at the Wooden Spoon exercise and see if it helps you both to change your bad habits. You will need a wooden spoon. One of you must hold the spoon while you talk, and the person holding the spoon is allowed to talk uninterrupted for two minutes (time this).When the two minutes is up, the listener then needs to feed back what they have heard to check they understood (this is not the time to give your own view on what the talker has just said!) When the feedback is complete, swap over with the spoon. Taking turns to speak should help you see things more clearly.


Overcoming Isolation
- Sometimes these conditions can cause you to feel alone and isolated, ideas our group came up with are listed below;

·         Go to the local library and see what groups they run or advertise there.

·         What kind of thing do you enjoy to do, and find a group that meets to do that activity, for example if you enjoy reading look up local reading groups, or if you are an artist join a local art group.

·         Join a local support group where you can meet others in similar circumstances, such as CFS Unite.

·         If you are able join an online forum or Facebook group to meet others.

·         Visit your local CAB for ideas and local support networks.

Family Events

If possible, speak to the host and get a program of events so you can plan your time accordingly.

Where is the event, can you book a room somewhere close by to take regular rests? Can you rest for a few days before and after the event?

If you are comfortable talk to the host about your health and what would help you to make it easier for yourself.

If seated for a meal, ask for a seat where you would be most comfortable to move around easily, or if taking a rest to go and have a rest without affecting the rest of the party.

Also if the event will be too much or you will pay for weeks after if you go to the event – Don’t be afraid to say No or only confirm to come to part of the event.  

You could also ask the host if they would mind sending photos to you so you can share their event and still be a part of it.


Useful contacts

Life Coach Directory - Life Coach Directory was set-up in order to raise awareness of coaching and to enable visitors to find the most suitable qualified coach for their needs. Coaching is the process of guiding a person from where they are to where they want to be. To ensure the professionalism of our website, all listed coaches have provided us with qualifications and insurance cover or proof of membership with a professional body. A link to their relationships page is Their main website is

Relate- Relate is a national federated charity with over 70 years experience of supporting the nation’s relationships. Relate's vision is a future in which healthy relationships are actively promoted as the basis of a thriving society. Our mission is to develop and support healthy relationships by: helping couples, families and individuals to make relationships work better, delivering inclusive, high-quality services that are relevant at every stage of life, and helping both the public and policymakers to improve their understanding of relationships and what makes them flourish. Tel - 0300 100 1234 -
Local - Relate Norfolk and Suffolk run a licensed counsellor scheme, and appointments can be made directly with our counsellors, with the exception of contract clients. Groups of counsellors operate in addresses in*:
Bury St Edmunds (01284 767 305)Ipswich (01473 254 118)Norwich (01603 625333) Kings Lynn (01553 773 813)* Appointments enquiries (answered 9.30 - 12.30 Mon-Fri).Email: Website:

Feel free to contact us for further information.