I know we've all been through those issues where we feel a friend has not supported us or been there for us or unable to cope with our diagnosis.
I had a recent issue with a friend that lives a couple of hours away that I used to travel to regularly to visit pre cancer but they would never reciprocate visits. I had been through the firstly issuing several invitations (as some people need to be specifically invited) then discussing this with them well before diagnosis. Time nor fares is not an issue here. Then continuing to issue invitations even after having been diagnosed.
Anyhow got diagnosed, went through treatment which finished end of June 10 and thus priotised the friends that did make the effort to visit or meet at half way points (those living at some distance) as well as local friends that were easy to make arrangements with. This was whilst still working part time, attending weekly chemo treatment and sorting out a will and superannuation, meeting with uni to discuss going back and so forth. Anyhow got an email with an aggressive tone stating that I had not kept in touch even though I seemed to have with others. I responded saying that I felt it was better to meet to talk face to face as the written word can be misinterpreted, said the above and suggested the friend make a time to come out my way. I would have agreed to meeting at a half way point if the friend had suggested this. Anyhow the response was the friendship is over.
Part of the reason why I wanted this friend to come out my way was I didn't want to be driving a 4 hour round trip just after finishing radiotherapy and then would not have time once I re start classes in late July to do long trips to visit people who don't reciprocate.
Have others had this experience and was I being unreasonable.
I guess I've come out of the cancer experience not wanting to be the friend that puts in 110% effort to very little back but am insisting on more give and take friendships plus of course not wanting to waste precious time.
Such strange behaviour by your 'friend' deejjay. You are in the box seat here, though, as you haven't 'ended' anything. There is absolutely nothing for you to feel unreasonable about as you haven't actually done anything except communicate with another person.
So, no need to waste time on it.
Gawwwd I smiled as I read this one! Could have been me writing this except for the distance. I had one friend that while i was having treatment and pre treatment and being stuck in hospital 200km and she used to visit twice a week and was my sanity really. Now that I am back home again she wants things to return to normal - which is that i drive the 50km round trip to see here and no returns! Consequently we havent seen one another for a very long time. I cant and dont want to go back to it being a one way street and wait for some random event for her to do her bit.
So, do i think you are being unreasonable? Nope, not on your nelly!
ps cheers to the new us ?? Sometimes i wonder 🙂
Good point Harker I haven't actually said that's it but more said what was happening for me.
Jules that's a shame about your friend continuing to expect one way travel from you. I do find it amazing when people expect others to always travel to them and never think about reciprocation especially when invited or something is said. I know that it's not always 50/50 in any friendship and give and take can change over time but when it gets so uneven for such a long time (in this situation it's 4 years without a reciprocation visit) that's when I get resentful.
Now with having been through cancer and needing to juggle work, treatment and other things it comes down to do I spend 4 hours traveling to see someone who doesn't do it for me or do I not do the travel but instead use that time to catch up with others, meet new people or do other things.
Harker does have a great point though. What is there to end? Well done Harker!
Deejay, to be honest some of this is my fault because prior to my diagnosis i did do the travelling. Got sucked into the sob story about how i dont have time etc... i run a business etc.... and so it goes on and on. Reality is I am not prepared to drop and run how i used to ... i will still keep the friendship as such i guess. It will be more on my terms this time though and not such a one way street.
Shame re your friend also and 4 hours is a lot to travel especially when its not reciprocated.
Sometimes we can thank our enemies. :)
Hi Julie that's happened to me too. Firstly it takes me a while to figure out that the the friendship is very uneven as I'm aware that the other person can be contributing in other ways. And in this case I fell for all the excuses.
Then I look at behavioural strategies such as issuing invitations to my place, suggesting activities at half way points and so forth. Then if that doesn't work I'll directly raise the issue by saying something like "I feel like I'm doing all the travelling and would love it if you could come down my way", pose a few solutions to the excuses that come up but often don't get taken seriously as I've got a gentle manner. The continue to issue the invitations.
I've also kept doing the travelling whilst trying to deal with it. And then it comes to a shock when I put my foot down. But up until then I've been reluctant to say if you continue to refuse to travel to me I don't see how we can continue a friendship as I'm not going to continue to do this.
Cancer does change our attitudes as doing cancer is hard, time consuming and thus it's easy to say well if I can still keep up friendships and make the time and effort to see you why can't you.
I really think that what cancer does is weed out those who trully care and are willing to see life from the patient's perspective (even wehn we are supposed to return to"normal").
I was very lucky with mnay of my friends - some driving great distances to have lunch ad visit. Usually they brought lunch with them.
Some,however, drfited off into their own problems and lives. I haven't mourned those friendships at all. I am now much more selective I think and I know that I don't have the energy for those who aren't or weren't willing to ake an effort while I was unwell.
One of my most noteworthy moments was when a friend had died about 2 months after I finished treatment. We had our "group" over for lunch to mourn and organise ourselves as he lived on the far north coast - a long way from Sydney. As we raised our glasses, one friend looked at me and toasted me and my survival very quietly. I was extremely moved and touched by hs thoughtfulness in our combined grief.Needless to say, we are all good friends.
Deejay, you are in no way being unreasonable. Perhaps you will find that the ones who have stuck around are the really worthwhile ones. The other person is the one who has missed out!
@ Deejay ... Behavioural strategies are great but then it makes me wonder whether friendships should be such hard work. I think being diagnosed with cancer makes me think and evaluate different aspects of my life from work through to friendships.
Absolutely re cancer being hard work ... its been a fulltime job for me for quite some time. Except for the last couple of months ... now i am trying to recover from the crappy full time job i had! Seriously though it does make you think and i think a lot of people refuse to acknowledge that because they just cant handle it. Never mind that we have no choice but to handle it!
Upside of it has been for me, that i have made new friends and have had some wonderful offers from wonderful people. So, although i mourn the person i once was and the life i once had ... the new one is here and it is just something i have to come to terms with.
@ samex comletely agree re weeding people out. 🙂 How nice that you had a friend that acknowledged you in your toast to your friend. Some people just have that amazing knack of doing the right thing in such a lovely way.
As we know, it is when we need them that we discover who our true friends are. I have discovered I have 3 true friends in two different countries, I am so fortunate, and yes I have some that have distanced themselves since diagnosis, I do not mourn them as the ones that remain make up for the loss in many ways. These friends were not scared or uncomfortable to ask questions and were good listeners. They do not pretend this is a temporary illness that we can beat everytime. This is what hurt the most, when "friends" dissmiss the severity of the illness because they cannot cope with it. So, nurture and treasure the true friends and have special times with them and leave the rest behind.
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.