I’ve had a friend (still have?) for over 30 years. We remained friends over the years, even when we moved to different counties, and different countries again……throughout the years while the kids grew up and we changed and got older. We never visited each other much, not even when we lived in the same town. We were telephone friends, and stayed up to date with long phone calls at least once a week. This continued for years and years and years

Then I was diagnosed with breast cancer. And the phone went quiet. It didn’t ring before I went for surgery, or the day of surgery, or after surgery. It didn’t ring through my treatment and recovery. Yes, we talked – but only when I called

A few weeks ago my phone rang and I knew immediately it was my friend. She told me about all the stress she is going through and how hard life is and that they don’t have savings for retirement. I snapped. Yes, I know I shouldn’t have. But it bothered me that she didn’t seem to care about me and my health and my uncertainty and sadness and lack of energy and …….. I told her I missed her support during a very difficult time in my life

Her reaction was that people don’t want to talk about cancer and that you give them space and they will call when they wanted to talk!!!!!!! What? We shared our lives for so many years. I knew her husband cheated on her, I knew she was unhappy, I also knew when she was happy. She was the first person I told that I was called in for a biopsy after a mammogram – I told her how I felt and how things were for me…….isn’t that enough of a hint that I wanted to discuss this with her, share with her?

After that comment she immediately started telling me again how bad life was for her, pushing my fears and need for her support aside. I then said that there are more important things in life than her husband’s travels and their struggles and the fact that they don’t have savings. I said I have cancer and I will never be without it again, even only in my mind

Again, the reaction was not what I needed at that stage. She told me ‘let us not be negative…’ Us? She wasn’t on the same journey I was on – she chose to get off right at the start

All of this bothered me and has been bothering me for a few weeks now. Today I came to the realisation that, after all these years, she became a selfish friend.  A friend who enjoyed our phone calls and friendship……but she only enjoyed it because I gave her so much and she took it all, without the want to give back to me. Yes, it is aways about give and take. And good friends give and take as they can and need to. She wants support all the time, but she is not willing to give it back. How could I have been so blind for all these years?

I am upset, I am grieving a friend I never really had. But I also feel much lighter and relaxed within myself. And I know now not to trust again, not even old friends

When you are on a difficult journey it is your journey. Don’t look for companions to share the journey with you. There won’t be any takers. Some journeys are meant to be taken on your own


3 thoughts on “Friends”

  1. Many times we think we have this great relationship with people, but in reality we are supporting just them. When things get tough you really do find out who is loyal to you. I am sorry you had to go through this. I have had this happen within my own family. I was always there for them and when I needed help I got the cold shoulder because they weren’t the center of attention. Get up each day knowing you are a good person and your worth is important. Smile that you see each day and you are able to set one foot in front of another. Life is to short to run after those that just don’t care. Have a Great weekend and enjoy each breath you take. Chris

  2. Ah yes, the “I don’t know what to say to you, so I’ll pretend I’m giving you space” reaction. I have been there and know exactly what you mean. I had a similar experience with a friend I had considered close. It’s painful to realise that you’ve been used, and bitter to reach for support that isn’t there. But at least it has sorted something out; that’s not a friend, that’s a leech. I hope your journey is progressing well. I’m 11 month from my 5 year milestone, and look forward to getting rid of the oncologist visits, the drugs and hopefully, a little of the nagging worry that does, yes, stay with you, no matter what.

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