It’s funny how most people like to be included in your life during celebrations, or when things are going great. Friends, family, and co-workers love participating in those moments of life, but if you suddenly are diagnosed with something like Cancer, this all changes abruptly.
As you grow older, you realize it is more worthwhile to have a few sincere friends than it is to have a bunch of acquaintances who are only there for the good times. I can almost guarantee being diagnosed with cancer will help you determine who falls into which category.
That one friend who would once join you for happy hour, a concert, or shopping trip, may not even acknowledge that you have cancer. No visit, no phone calls, no texts, nothing! Complete avoidance instantly sets in. Perhaps in their mind, saying nothing is better than saying something offensive. In my mind, this behavior makes me seriously question the friendship we had.
Despite listening to hours of other friends’ issues, some can’t even acknowledge that I have a serious life-changing disease. I once had a friend who distanced herself so far away that when we bumped into one another on the street, she avoided eye contact with me. As if making eye contact would transfer the cancer cells from my body to hers! Well I assure you, you cannot catch Cancer from me!
People will shock you in both good and bad ways when you are diagnosed with cancer. I have learned to focus on all of the positive things that have come from my diagnosis, including the wonderful support system I have, my stronger than ever relationship with my family, and my general appreciation of the wonderful life I have been given. I am blessed to have these genuine people in my life.
I never was seeking sympathy or pity upon my diagnosis. I simply had higher expectations of people who fell under the category of my close friends. I’ve decided it is okay to adjust your list of friends as needed. It certainly allows more room for authentic friendships.
I want you to know that you should not waste your time trying to force things between you and friends who are behaving selfish. You have enough to worry about. You should focus on your health, getting well, and the people who want to be there for you. Don’t take it personally for the ones who change. This is a great opportunity for you to find out who your true friends are.
Did you experience this? Share your story in the comments below.