Just because someone is struggling with new and potentially overwhelming challenges doesn't mean the tenor of your relationship with your friend has to change. Allowing her to continue being that friend can be its own form of compassion.
In our efforts to solve difficult social problems in particular, we rely too heavily on reason and numbers and econometrics, and not often enough on empathy. And by empathy I don't just mean our emotions, and I certainly don't mean feeling sorry -- that's sympathy.
Gratitude helps you deal with difficult situations, and sympathy helps you deal with difficult people. They're not hard core, but once you experience little highs, you often find yourself craving something bigger.
I've just read Conan O'Brien's letter about the Tonight Show mess, and I think he has a point. The implication is that there is only one Tonight Show, and NBC should just decide who will host it. That sounds right.