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Distant friend?

Posts: 11
Joined: Jun 2013

Did anyone notice a good friend disappearing shortly after telling them about your cancer? A few months ago, a really good friend of mine was going through some pretty serious medical stuff with her baby girl. I brought them books, snacks, even madlucite little hospital gowns for her. She's been home for awhile now. When I told my friend I had cancer 2 weeks ago, she was super supportive, and I thought she'd really be there for me. I send texts, checking on her and her little one and I hardly ever get a reply. If I do get one, it's short and blunt ("I'm good") without even asking how things are for me.  I know, I know, you'll probably say she's just adjusting to life at home. I can't argue that. However, she has time tup post comments on FB, post pictures of them hanging out with our other friends, etc. I feel abandoned. What happened?


SIROD's picture
Posts: 2199
Joined: Jun 2010

Some people are terrified of the word "Cancer" and don't know what to do so they don't do anything.

Some people are afraid to "catch" it because they don't understand what cancer is.

Pity your friend, she just doesn't know better.

Best to you,


Posts: 1191
Joined: Dec 2010

I have a family of aquintances. I send the wife cards to cheer her up. I send her two minor children $25 on their birthday with a card that fits their personality, send the wife and husband bday cards. I never get a thank you (cept for a few times from the minor kids).

I never get a thank you from her. Recently she was going through a very rough patch so I bought her a card that opens up to a bouquet of flowers in a pot, three D kind of. Not one work of thanks.

She never asks how I am doing. And if she does, it goes right back to her.

I talk with Brian about it. I told him, I know if  you do something nice for someone you really shouldn't expect anything in return, but a thank  you sure would be nice.

You sound like a wonderful, caring friend. The other lady, not so much. I know it hurts to be left out, but maybe it is for the better. She sounds like she is a fair weather friend. I don't believe she deserves  you as a friend.Sometimes we have to cut all ties with people who are toxic to us. It is very hard at first, but then eventually time heals.

I hope you find a peaceful solution for yourself.

Double Whammy's picture
Double Whammy
Posts: 2791
Joined: Jun 2010

I learned this:  you need to ask for what you need/want from people, because most of them don't know what to do or say.  Most are sincere when they say "let me know if you need anything" but on their own, really don't know what to do and you probably don't know what you need.  I think when you feel like you need something (an ear, an outing, company during treatments,  some food, etc.) you have to learn to ask if it ain't happening. 

A lifelong friend of mine cried when I told her my diagnoses.  Throughout treatments she never called or came by.   She's apologized and I've accepted her apology.  Two of my closest friends were there all the way through, but it was totally on their terms.  They decided what it would be that would make me feel better and they did a number of things that were both hurtful and that angered me.  But they had my best interest at heart and truly cared.  My very bff lives 2 1/2 hrs away and was still working so while I didn't see her much but she knew what to do that helped me the most.  And that was listen.  We talked daily.     

I truly believe no one is too busy to help someone else and everyone has enough time to do whatever they want.  We all have responsibilities and burdens.  It's really ok to call your friend and tell her what you'd like her to do for you.  Be specific and have a backup plan.  I spent way too much time fretting about my friend not contacting me when I know I could have picked up the phone and said "could you please drive me to radiation one day next week" or some such thing and she would have made arrangements. 

Just as we each react to our diagnoses differently, so do others.  Referring to cancer patients as heroes and like terms has created an image that seems like no one should need anything during treatments - afterall so and so looked fabulous bald and was at the gym everyday and worked 3 jobs, ran after kids, etc., etc.  Really hasn't helped us much when we're down and out and just need some empathy.  I found that coming here really helped me the most.


camul's picture
Posts: 2541
Joined: Dec 2010

at least until your treatments are done. The up side is you will most likely be amazed as you find that some who you neger considered really close, are the most caring and warm hearted. One 'close' friend I finally wrote off after 2 years of hurtful remarks etc. Now she is calling as she is waitin on results of brca, 3 new family members diagnosed wih bc, her mother passed years ago from it. Now she is scared and I am her only friend who 'understands'.
I let the hurt go... and truly feel bad for her, but I really no longer considernher a good friend.
I agree wih the others, most peoplenreallyndont know what to say or do, so they do nothing, and we arenso strong being cancer 'survivors' that we dont need anything.
Younwill be surprised, some will come around and some won't. But I really have to believe that
Carolmost really do care.

Posts: 11
Joined: Jun 2013

thank you all SO much! What you are saying makes sense. I guess I just never thought about the fact that they might not know what to do. I just assumed that listening was a given. But, now that I read your responses realize that listening may be hard for her. It may be too scary for her. She is very much a "doer" so maybe I'll give her tasks to help out with so she feels useful and I don't feel neglected. Maybe the conversations will come on their own. I'm still hurt, but I guess it's part of the process. I think I'm just in the phase of resentment. I resent cancer and I resent the fact that it seems to be taking over EVERY aspect of my life! Don't get me wrong, I appreciate promoting (breast) cancer awareness, but I need a break. It's everywhere! Go the the grocery- there's pink ribbon bottles; on a walk- relay for life yard signs; watch the news- Susan G Komen commercials; go to church- someone just died of breast cancer....and on & on & on. Why aren't we allowed to walk away from it for just a few moments?!

SIROD's picture
Posts: 2199
Joined: Jun 2010

You are certainly correct about breast cancer awareness.  There needs to be awareness to make certain that women and men know the signs of breast cancer, women have their yearly mammogram and etc.  However, one doesn't need the pink ribbon items in the commercial places like the big box stores..  Most are there to make a profit for themselves, it rarely goes to research.  Susan G Komen "Race for the Cure" once did a marvelous thing, Nancy Brinker, Susan's sister took breast cancer out of the closet and made it a very public word tied with a big pink ribbon.  She realized early that finding the cure was not going to be easy and to keep her organization going she put a lot of emphasis on "survivors".  Not a bad thing either, 70% of those who have had treatment for breast cancer remain in that percentage and never have another recurrencer of if they do, it is a local or regional one that doesn't change their stats.

30% of women and men will go on to be stage IV and that is the percentage you don't hear much about especially from the Komen Foundation.  In the last few years MBCN (metastatic breast cancer network) and METAvivor have been working hard to expose us in order that research money goes into finding a cure for the only stage that women and men die.  Presently 2% of the funds research metastatic breast cancer disease.  METAvivor wants 30% of money raise to go into research for stage 4, it is called 30% for 30% (of the people).  Komen foundation spends more money on administration, awareness, early detection than into research for a cure.  

Pinking becomes worst in September/October where you can get away from those jumping on the bandwagon selling their pink products to profit themselves.  Very little if you check closely goes to research.  

I can understand your resenting breast cancer.  I did and still do.  Just ignore the pink ribbons, don't listen to negative talkers telling you about their aunt Ann who had this disease, don't Google (old stats) find good web discussion board (this one is good) and try to keep positive during this hard time.  Ask for help from your friends when you need it, tell them what you need, they can't guess and if you need to talk, come here or tell them, I just need to talk, can you listen to me.  

Sorry this is to long.

Wishing you the best,


Posts: 6561
Joined: Oct 2010

everyone handles things differently.

I was told once (not about illness) by a therapist-if I expected people to treat me like I did them (such as family over for dinner/ holidays etc)) I will be VERY disappointed-I THINK she hit the nail on the head. ( I did all and every holidays , b day etc for over 20 yrs and yet to be invited other then ONE year)

I hope things smooth out with you-perhaps she is stressed over new baby (LIKE YOU said time to post) & unsure what to say to you>...

I"LL keep good thoughts heading your way.


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