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Old friends and how they respond


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Hey,

We have covered this topic before but what do you do when you reach out to old friends and then you get nothing back? Well let me start at the beginning. In the last year I have contacted 2 old friends. One from about 11 years ago and one from just after high school. At first they were both very happy to hear from me! The first girl knew me before and after I got sick but then we lost touch. She emailed about 6 months ago and I emailed back just saying that I was doing ok but still ill, among other things of course asking about the baby etc. A month later I got an email with 60 pictures of her daughter and then the next month the same thing. No response to my email at all. I guess she just wanted to show off her baby ( who wouldn?t I know) but no I am sorry your still ill no questions about my life or anything. But oh well. So just about 2 weeks ago I happened upon the email of my other old friend. Emailed hey is this you. It was and she said I am so happy to hear from you write soon etc. So being careful I just told her a little of my life and said that I stay at home because of some health problems but that that was a long story. Haven?t heard back from her either. I guess I should not be surprised because geez even some of my cousins and aunts have pulled back since I have been ill and don?t respond to emails letters etc. The sad thing is that I don?t want to talk about my illness with them. I just wanted to open my world up a little and thought I would be safe with old friends. I guess not. I am finding that people are very strange and that things I would never think of doing people do all the time. If an old friend wrote me and said that she had been ill for 10 years I would at least write her and say I am so sorry if nothing else. But that?s me. As you know my dad is been very ill and my aunt was in Miami over a long weekend drove right by the exit were he is in the rehab place and did not stop to see him. How??? Do I stop reaching out? I don?t know. Have you guys experienced this any advice? I am just thankful I have you and that my world got opened as much as it did when I started reading an posting on this site. Thank God for that!

So thanks for being true friends even though we have never met!

Stacey :-)

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I am sure most of us have the same story Stacey. I just assume my "friends" have very busy lives and don't have time for the illness thing. In my case, most of my friends are in the medical field and don't want to come home from work or be outside of work and then have to deal with a sick person. I have one friend I've known for over 23 years, and the only time she calls is when she's having a candlelite party or something, so I can spend money and get her free stuff. I am down to 2 friends and one of them is in contact about every 3 months or so. As far as my family, my sister is the only one that hasn't pulled away. I try not to complain, but even if you don't say anything, it's usually pretty easy to see when we don't feel well. So even though most of us are long distance, this has been my friendship line for awhile, and even if I don't post much anymore, I know when I do, I will have supportive friends here. Also, sometimes people just don't know what to say or do. We are not a society where illness, especially ones you can't see are acceptable. It's just the way it is I guess. I can't really give you any advice. Personally, I just stopped trying if they didn't respond after a couple of times, even with my family. But know you have plenty of friends here. :) morgan

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In a way I looked at losing some of my friends as a blessing in disguise. Some of these people I was so close to since I was a child..... They stopped responding to my calls... And I even had one go as far as telling me ( 2 weeks before my wedding no less) That she thinks I have been useing being sick all these years as an excuse for not living and afraid to live.... I told her where to go in more than 10 ways....then cut her off forever.

I do have a few friends left over from That time period in my life, but they only like to talk about themselves. I just recently saw one of them, she just had a baby, we hadnt seen each other for 4 years... But she never asked one time how I was doing.....

I have been lucky to replace some of these people with others who really do care.

I guess the lesson here is maybe my old friends were always this self centered and I just didnt realize it.

Anyway... I think you only go through life with 1 maybe 2 if you are lucky TRUE genuine friends......

The rest who dont/wont/or cant respond to you reaching out I say are not worth it.

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Stacey

I know how painful that is. I second morgan's comments. And Jenn, you are so right--the true friends are few. I think chronic illness can turn people off--unfortunately there are few people who make compassion, caring and responsiveness to others their priority. It's a sad conclusion, but that's the conclusion I have come to. People have busy lives, and they prioritize. Your friend with the new baby is busy with the baby and her life, and her priority in interacting with others right now is to share her happiness. Sometimes it takes a setback in one's own life to learn to be compassionate, and to prioritize taking the time to care for someone else who is in a deep hole--be it illness or loss.

For me, POTS, I hope, helped me re-prioritze and be more compassionate. It has defintely made me think more about others' pain and challenges, and how they affect their lives on a daily basis. For example, last year an old friend of mine had twins very prematurely and one died. I think in some way experiencing POTS (as well as being a parent) made me more sensitive to her pain. Over the months I have called her long distance, sent her flowers, little notes, homemade cookies in the mail. This just automatically came to me, even though we haven't been in great touch for years. She told me after many months that I was the only person outside her family who seemed to really understand her pain, which actually surprised me.

Anyway, my point is, that it's not that people don't care necessarily, it's more that they may not understand or make caring enough of a priority. You live in a different world than they do. They don't understand the support and understanding that you need.

I think it is great that you tried to reach out, and don't stop doing that as discouraging as it can be.

Katherine

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I have gone through this also. I often get a lot of junk mail from these friends. The only friends I have over the internet are those dealing with a chronic illness. As far as my social life goes, it *****. Two of my best friends moved away many years ago. Since I have been ill, noone seems to be interested in having a close friendshiop with me. I used to have a fairly descent social life. What hurts most is when people make plans with me , but they never follow through. THey say things, but never seem to mean it. Next time someone says, I want to have you over for lunch sometime...I want to say "Yeah right" I wish people would follow through with what they say.

I am sorry you are going through this. It is so hard to not feel good and be lonely. There are days when I am feeling good enough to socialize, but I no longer have anyone to call. Like others here I can relate and I really feel for you. I think the best people to seek out are those who are dealing with chronic illness themselves. They understand and have compassion.

On a negative note...I often get frustrated when I am around people. I do not bring up my health problems but sometimes they are obvious. I get sooo soo sick of everyone putting in there two cents. I know their intentions are good, but it is hard not to think of it as they aer assuming we are self-inducing or could be doing something to treat it. I am already frustrated enough and doing all I can to get better!!!

Best Wishes,

Dawn Anich

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Guest tearose

Hi Stacey,

Most everything has been said that I would have said...I wanted to add that you ask about reaching out...I say never stop! Be true to your own nature and that means you will always wear your "heart" on your sleeve I bet! :) There will be new friends who will come into your life when you and they are ready. Be patient. That new friend is out there and may be shy or unsure and maybe will need you to extend the first invitation. Try to think of doing something that will put in a place to meet someone new. Go to a class, have a little meeting at your home...go to the gift shop while your at the hospital visiting your dad...keep your mind and heart open. You will meet and make a good friend eventually!

warm wishes, tearose

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Personally, I've had to let go of most of the "friends" who cannot cope with "me". I have a few who I only share the most superficial information with--but overall, the ones who've replaced all the not-so-good-friends have ended up being so important to me. Just remember that most people never have to face the kinds of daily challenges you (or I) have--and yet even begin to empathize with what it must be like for you.

Don't fault them for their failings. Keep the doors (phone line, email) open, and if they contact you, great. If not, remember that those folks probably live pretty superficial lives overall. Happiness, after all, isn't at all about what OTHERS think about you, or even about how they treat you--

Ulimately, it's about what YOU think about YOU and how YOU treat YOU. Everything else is just nice extras.

:) Nina

Edited by MightyMouse
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Dear Stacey, Alot of people are uncomfortable with sickness and don't know how to react. As people mature and go through life's trials, they become much more sympathetic to others problems. Maturity has alot to do with it. Young people tend to be self absorbed and want to be happy. They don't know how to share sadness. It doesn't make it right! All of my children have cared deeply about their cousin. On Christmas Day, we all got together and it was a wonderful day. We all cried when not in the same room with my niece, seeing her in this condition, but to see the effort she put forth to be with the family, was worth every tear shed. Some parents seem to make their children feel they are the only ones in the world that count. My favorite line to mine growing up was No one is better than you and you are not better than anyone else. Care for all of your friends and loved ones as this may be the last time that you will see them. They are all compassionate and truly love their neighbor. It is not you, but them. Don't stop reaching out for help, love and friendship and talking. It will always be your salvation to get through life. Linda

Edited by MightyMouse
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I am constantly amazed at the support I find here. I am crying because I am so touched. Thank you.

You know the sad thing is that since I know how hard it is for people to understand what we deal with it is not something that I really go into. I just wanted to connect with an old friend see how they were bring new people into my world but as soon as you mention illness many shut down. It is so sad because it hurts me and I am really not asking for that much. But as you have said their lives are different and I will let them live them and hope. I have 2 friends from high school that I am in contact with and they are great. Maybe I need to spend some extra talking to them!

I guess I will be content with the friends I do have, make sure that I never do that to anyone I know and keep you all in my prayers and in my heart.

You all give me strength and I guess the understanding that it is not me that is at fault it is them. But it is a hard thing to realize when you put yourself out there. But I will continue basically because I know no way else. But it is so wonderful to know that you guys are out there and understand.

Stacey

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Stacey, I know it hurts. It still occasionally gets to me too. But, I find that most of the hurt passes when I think about what level of friendship is lost. Usually, the hurt on my part is about me realizing I'd invested more of myself than the other person had of themselves. True friendships are relatively equal (different give and take, in different areas, but overall, similar levels of self investment).

You have more true friends than you probably realize.

Nina

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