The problem is people just dont understand how to take RA they dont no how to deal with it. Its hard seeing your friend go from "normal" running around like a headless chicken to some one who is constantly fustrated in a wheelchair. See thats the thing, when you go in a wheelchair you have to rely on friends, family to push you about and some people just can not manage with it. I can understand it, im only 6 stone and 5 ft and i couldnt manage to push a wheelchair with the best will in the world, but i know i would stay friends with the person just i'd feel guilty that i can not help them, maybe its guilt why i have lost friends.
I am lucky i have some dear friends that have stayed close and i hope they are always there, although i know as we grow older and we start establishing our lifes that things will change because they will all have there relationships, babies, jobs and a social life. Were as i'll just be stuck here in this place just me and the dog, thats ok as he is very loyal but he wont talk to you, go shopping with you laugh with you cry with you when things dont go the way you want them to.
My main message is that if you ever find a friend is long term sick give them a hug and tell them it will be ok but never say you'll always be there unless you really mean it because walking away hurts them more than it hurts you.
friends are your choosen family, keep them close, love them be there for them. A best mate is a special person.
Lots of hugs