TL;DR I organize a social event within a group of friends. One of them cannot come for medical reasons. Can I do anything to comfort him?

We are a group of about 30 people aged 19--40 who got to know each other at a 2-week scout meeting. We got really close to each other during this and try to meet regularly. Three of these live in a city quite far from me (3 hours by train).

I saw there's a concert of a band I like in their city, so I started a Facebook group chat with me and the 3 of them. Two confirmed and we planned the details (still in the chat), while one ("Joe") told us immediately that unfortunately he'll be in hospital at that time, and it was basically his only message, though he's not left the group chat.

I don't have any signal from Joe that he is uneasy with the situation, but I believe that he might be. Is there a way how to approach this in order to find out whether he's OK with all of this? My ultimate goal is that this does not leave any scars on our friendship (and I may be overthinking this and there's nothing bad going on).

2 Answers 2


Probably, you'd need to check in with your friend to find out.

People tend to be bummed out when prior commitments prevent them from doing fun things with friends. This normally doesn't put a strain on the friendship since it's not their friends fault that they have already made plans.

Ask your friend if they'd be up for a visit while in the hospital. If they're up for visitors ask them if there's something that you can pick up for them. This way the four of you still get to hang out for a bit. If they don't want visitors, make sure that they're free the next time you are planning to meet up.

  • 1
    I ended up doing this. It turned out that he's coming home tomorrow and anyway, the hospitals in the area are closed to visitors for a cold/flu outbreak. He seemed cheered up. Thanks for the help!
    – yo'
    Feb 20, 2018 at 20:01

It's a good thing that you care about Joe. It can even be better if you show him that you care.

First of all, I would ask him how he's doing, if eveything's fine, and so on... The usual friendly pleasantries. Not too much, because he might want to not talk too much about the "hospital thing". And if wants/needs to talk to you about the disease/illness, maybe if he would like you to visit him? This way, you show him that you care, but don't push too far, and avoid interfering with something that might be very very personal, and that he doesn't want to share/expand...

Then, depending on the strenght of your friendship, and how close you are to each other, you could also do some little things like:

  • a tee-shirt with a nice message to him.
  • wear the tee-shirt at the concert.
  • post some pictures of you with a dedicated message to support him.
  • and so on...

This is close to "live coverage" just for him. If he sees that, he'll probably feel very warmed...

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