Things Your Injured Friends Want You to Do (Or NOT Do)

You don't know what to say. You're at a loss of what to do. So you stick with the standard safe thing and fumble your way through something generic to comfort your injured friend before trying to make your escape, having paid your duty to them. I get it.

After being on the flip side — injured on the couch for 3 months with a torn ACL/MCL/meniscus and another 7 months of recovery to go — I've learned that I've done the "supportive friend" thing all wrong. You probably do, too. So, to make it easy for you, I've compiled 21 of the approved (and rejected) ways to care for any of the fallen amongst your adventure crew. Stick to it and you'll claim hero status.

Injured Friends

Listen Up:

1. Don't drop off the face of the earth. Now, more than ever, your friend needs to stay actively engaged with humankind or their mind will wither away into a deep, dark black hole. Invite them to drive up the canyon, hang out at the crag with the crew, etc.

2. You like food? Well, they love food; especially the home cooked kind since all they've been eating is boxed dinners and crackers. Come over with your friends and make dinner at their place. Then do something stupid after (see headlining photo).

3. Think they don't want to see photos of you having fun? Au contraire!  Send live coverage of your adventures to their phone or Facebook — it makes them feel included.

4. Don't compare your injury to theirs; they don't want to hear how much worse or better you had it.

5. You eat out, right? Set up a once-a-week dinner excursion to rally them out of their dungeon and around some bright lights and new sights. Having a regular get together gives them a break from their four-walled monotony.

6. Offer to help them get groceries, go to the post office, get to doctor appointments, etc.

7. Oh, by the way: Don't ask if there's anything you can do if you don't actually mean to do it.

8. Unless they bring it up, don't talk to them about their injury or how they're doing. It gets tiring. Seriously.

9. Send them the most addictive television series you know of. And make sure there's at least 7 seasons worth of it.

10. They don't need cookies. They're sitting on a couch. But they want them. It's a fine line.

11. Get them items to decorate their crutches or casts with. Pins, stickers — anything to make them feel as though their tools of mobility are nearly as rad as their tools of adventure.

12. Make fun of them. Really.

13. Let them cry on your shoulder if you make fun of them too much.

14. Feel free to change their name to something like "Flash," "Lightning McQueen," or "Hops Along."

15. Send them something in the mail. It will make their entire week.

16. Don't ask when they'll be healed. Do tell them they'll be back out rocking it in no time — even if their muscles have atrophied to ¼ their normal size.

17. Feel free to add "Bionic" to their gender and call them by this if they've had surgery.

18. Let them do some things themselves. But always get the door for them.

19. Come up with a list of fanciful alternative stories for the times when others inevitably ask, "So, what happened?"

20. Make a music video to "Ridin Dirty" if they're in a wheelchair.

21. Hugs are important. Really, really, really important.

Help an injured friend

I wouldn't have this list to compile without my friends who have gone out of their way to do these things with me while I've been in recovery mode. So, thank you Austin Sims, Jude & Tim, Joshua Riggins, Laurie Tewksbury, Christian McConnell, David Sandel, Bretterick Briggs, Shawn Parry, Jordan Katter, Anthony "Tony" Aadland, Matt Moncur, Nick & Laura, Brandon Aegerter, Ryan Avila, Samuel Zmolek and social media friends Bryan O'Sullivan and Russ Beebe.
Gina Begin
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Gina Begin
Although Gina calls Utah her second home, you're unlikely to actually find her there. Since storing her things over two years ago and hitting the road, she's been on a quest to reach the distant places of North America. She's skied the backcountry of the Chugach in Alaska, slept under the northern lights in the Yukon Territory, photographed Nova Scotia's coves, backpacked in southern U.S. wildernesses and munched on sugared tamarindo in the jungles of Mexico. Follow Gina's adventures on her personal blog or on the Outdoor Women's Alliance site.
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