Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Where have my friends gone?

I read these types of stories a lot lately. Seems many of us lose family or friends. by GregP_WN

You're diagnosed with cancer, you call a few friends and give them the heartbreaking news, they promise to be there, just tell them what you need. Fast forward a few months and see who's there now. Many of them aren't around, or are very distanced and you may even have a new circle of friends that include people that weren't friends before cancer.

Where Are All My Friends

A cancer diagnosis is devastating news, for you, your family and your friends and many people just can't handle it.

Is it your fault? NO!! Most people mean well and don't mean to hurt your feelings, they are sometimes overwhelmed by the whole "cancer thing" and can't cope with you having cancer. Or maybe they just can't handle cancer. There are many reasons they might have bailed, here are a few:

1) Sometimes people don't know how to react - I actually did my senior seminar paper partially addressing this issue, influenced additionally with my own personal experience, and I found that some people just react in that way because they don't know how else to react to the situation. This doesn't mean that they don't care, it is just their way of dealing with the issue. In the same way, certain people might react in a completely opposite manner because of the same thing. Just try to understand that especially for those who are closest to you, will react in certain ways. This does not mean they do not care, but their body or mind may react in a certain way from something which -- frankly -- is a lot to process for them, too. I'm not saying those individuals will not eventually come around; I would suggest to perhaps give them a bit of space and then reach out when you think they are ready to reconnect. Thoraxe23

2) Some people just can't deal - Sad but true. Although I still have hope for one of my friends who has stayed away because I really do think that we are good friends. It's just that she can't deal with this on so many levels. Sue_2015

3) Sometimes people just don't have the extra time to be there - I have found the same thing. I have found that some people I thought would really be there don't seem to have the time anymore. It is sad and hurtful. Especially when some of them are ones i thought were my closest friends. I also found people that I thought were just aquaintance ended up being true friends. I also made some new friends. I guess when the chips are down you really do find out who your true friends are.

4) People just don't know what to say, so they say nothing - I have experienced the same reaction. I know that many people were thinking of me but just didn't know what to say - so they chose to say nothing. Sadly, I know I have done the same to others in the past when they had gone through something even though I thought of them and wished them well often.But unless that is conveyed, it is not known.

I Don't Know What To Say

5) They don't know how to handle it, and don't want to upset you - People do treat you differently though. I think it is because sometimes they just don't know how to respond. It makes cancer 'real' to them and that's scary. They don't want to upset you so they don't always know what to say or do. Cancer is hard on everyone. - Alimccalli

6) It's a difficult emotional situation - It is a difficult situation emotionally, but you can't see into other people's hearts. Maybe people are scared. Maybe they don't know what to do. Maybe they feel that you should be reaching out more to them. It is hard to understand unless you have actually gone through it. - Jalemans

7) It makes them think about their own mortality, and they don't want to - Some people can't handle any illness and are so afraid they could get it too and don't want to think about it or their mortality. - EstherJ

8) Spouses and close relatives may not be able to deal with the fact that you may die - I can relate. mine left in a different way. he couldn't face the fact that i may die and took to the bottle - Isnoop

9) People feel inadequate and unable to do anything about your situation - I know what you mean I went through the same thing People are weirded out by cancer They mean well but they feel totally awkward and inadequate They simply dont know what to say Plus patients are different Some people want everyone to pretend that nothing is going on while others want the support Give them some cues. You bring it up. Tell them "I am stressed today thinking about my cancer and the future, how about we doing something distracting?" This tells them the topic is not off limits but doesn't beg them for sympathy Good luck I am always jealous when i read posts from caregivers I could have used a caregiver! - Zubsha

The take home message for this situation is to just remember, it's not your fault. You may make some of these situations better by explaining your situation to them and letting them know you understand, and explain what they can do to help you. You might be able to stop some of these situations before they get started.