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Healthy Friendships with the Healthy

Dainty

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river said:
It doesn't matter how strongly we beg people to be more at ease around us, to take the initiative and so on ... if by their nature they're not good at taking the initiative
or initiation an interest in your situation (although deep inside they're interested if not dead curious) there's nothing we can do to change them. Just like some people are
absent-minded and forgetful by nature and no matter how you beg them to please remember an important thing, they don't and there's no much they can do about it.
But that doesn't mean they're careless or shallow.
Right. I completely agree.

However, if every single person I had come to know in the past few years was absent-minded and forgetful, I would begin to suspect that it wasn't just an issue of a few individuals doing that by nature, wouldn't you? In the exact same way, I used to think that it was just the individuals who were that way by nature, but when my experience has been the exact same across the board for several years, with countless individuals, that's what is making me think it is more than a personality quirk on their end.

river said:
Alternatively, they're just not good friends. If they're in a position to reciprocate and often do that to others but fail to meet your needs and expectation because of their egocentrism, laziness and what not ... then they're not good friends.
Earlier you mentioned something about how the word "friends" is overused when people usually mean "acquaintences", and I strongly agree. These people are not "friends" to me, they are acquaintences, and I am, though my actions, seeking to deepen these relationships into friends. So they are neither good friends nor bad friends, they may simply be acquaintences who don't have the time, emotional energy, or interest in becomming closer friends, and that's okay. However I wouldn't think that everyone would be included in one or more of those categories, and over the years in my experience everyone I know and have met has turned out to be so. That's what I don't understand. That's what I'm confused about, that's what I'm trying to fix. For a long time I thout it was just a matter of individuals, that the right ones would come along eventually and all would be well. But it's been so long and I've known so many people that it seems there is a greater disconnect at work here and that's what I'm trying to break through.

And, just as a premptive note, I have come flat out and asked, "Are you interested in deepening this relationship? Because I could really use another friend." I'm frank like that, because I'm desparate. I mention it lest you get the impression that I'm trying to manipulate with hints and actions, because nothing could be further from the truth.
 

Dainty

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[quote="river']But yes, I would still be continuing to talk; it's up to them to tell me openly "I don't want to be your friend anymore, you're bothering me, we don't have anything in common, I don't care about you" or it's up to me to ask whether they're still interested in my friendship and whether my intuition that I'm always calling at the wrong time and they're bothered by my calls is right. I might actually need to push them a little, show they can trust the fact that all I need is honesty and the truth will never hurt me and after some coaxing they usually tell me honestly, I can tell from their more serious and less frivolous tone of voice, what they think ...[/quote]

Again, I'm happy that's been your experience. It hasn't been mine.

In my experience, no matter how much I ask, no matter how much I communicate the importance of honesty and no matter how much I assure them that I won't blame them for their response, they continue to tell me that all is well.....until the day that they finally break down and it's this huge dramafest and it comes out they've been lying to me about it the entire time, for what in their mind were really good reasons.

That's stressful to go through. It's difficult to go through multiple times. WHen it happens enough, you learn to see the signs and end things gracefully to avoid a blowout.
 
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Again, I'm happy that's been your experience. It hasn't been mine.

In my experience, no matter how much I ask, no matter how much I communicate the importance of honesty and no matter how much I assure them that I won't blame them for their response, they continue to tell me that all is well.....until the day that they finally break down and it's this huge dramafest and it comes out they've been lying to me about it the entire time, for what in their mind were really good reasons.
Well, these sounds like plain bad people and the kind that would drag you into toxic relationships.
Dishonesty is terrible in my opinion, expecially if you're playing the feelings of someone who is more vulnerable because of his/her health condition.
You deserve better but don't think for a minute this must be the rule or that there's something inherently leading to this kind of things in friendships with the healthy.
Keep having positive thoughts, might sounds naive but I'm still a strong believer that we can attract people and experiences with our thoughts, that's why I prefer to think "I want" rather than "I don't want"
 

Orla

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Dainty wrote

River, I think you're misunderstanding something. It isn't a matter of testing how much the person cares about you by refusing to take the initiative; a lot of the time we're too ill to take the initiative so in order to avoid overburdening ourselves in the long term we need someone else to take on some of that load. It can also become simply too emotionally taxing to keep calling at bad times, even though the person doesn't claim it's a bad time (which wastes your energy) or calling and they don't pick up (more wasted energy) or calling and talking but not having your needs met because the person is distracted doing something else.

.......One great friendship that I had basically ended when the reciprocity of initiative ended. I continued to call regularly for about two years, but I often called at bad time, often got the answering machine and the few times I did get through she would gush about how I was "such a faithful friend" for calling, as if it was something unusual that she wasn't expecting. After two years of her always exclaiming about my faithfulness with every call I did begin to think, "So, what does that make you?" It was taking up a huge amount of my energy to call, and she had clearly moved on because she seemed very surprised to hear from me each time (again, talking years) and had ceased all initiation. Did I blame her? No, sometimes people's lives just go in different directions and friendhships fade away; that's life. But I had to be the one to recognize that it was fading and let it go, and we're now very rare acquaintences.
Yes that was the sort of thing I was talking about. The situation with that friend I mentioned was not me going off in a childish sulk or tantrum. I was going through a bad time illness-wise which was also causing chaos in other areas of my life. I didn't have the emotional energy to be chasing people, or putting energy into people who I felt didn't want to be there for me (and I am low maintenance so would not be making unreasonable demands). I thought I would leave the ball in their court for once and unfortunately or fortunately (depending on how you look at it) they made a choice to let me go.

I had various degrees of this sort of experience with other people where it just became too difficult making an effort that felt like flogging a dead horse. In some ways I found it less stressful in the long-run just to let some people go.

On top of this another problem for us is that we have to let some people go often early in the illness as they might have a bad or unhelpful attitude about the illness, so this also shrinks our social circle.

I have tried different approaches at different stages of the illness and/or with different people but unfortunately I have no great answer as to what to do. There are so many factors at play with both sides.

Dainty wrote:

Earlier you mentioned something about how the word "friends" is overused when people usually mean "acquaintences", and I strongly agree. These people are not "friends" to me, they are acquaintences, and I am, though my actions, seeking to deepen these relationships into friends.
Yes this is a good point, and this is something I would have difficultly with now.

I think part of the problem is about frequency of contact, and not being directly involved in more active parts of people's lives. Their lives can be moving on and they can be changing while we are left behind. And in some ways we cannot reciprocate a lot of practical support for them so they might stop turning to us for help at all, which includes them not turning to us for emotional support either, and gradually the friendship can become more of a distant aquaintance. Or if the relationship is new it can be difficult to move the relationship from an aquaintance to a closer one because we are not around their lives so much.

In some ways we become close to people through shared experiences, both good and bad, and often it is the crises that bring people close together. But if we are not physically around for these events (I mean we are literally out of the picture) then it becomes much more difficult to get close to people. It is probably this fact that makes it easier for us to be able to have a degree of closeness very quickly with other sick people, as we have a shared experience, and have more difficulty with healthy people.


Dainty wrote:

Earlier you mentioned something about how the word "friends" is overused when people usually mean "acquaintences", and I strongly agree. These people are not "friends" to me, they are acquaintences, and I am, though my actions, seeking to deepen these relationships into friends. So they are neither good friends nor bad friends, they may simply be acquaintences who don't have the time, emotional energy, or interest in becomming closer friends, and that's okay. However I wouldn't think that everyone would be included in one or more of those categories, and over the years in my experience everyone I know and have met has turned out to be so. That's what I don't understand. That's what I'm confused about, that's what I'm trying to fix. For a long time I thout it was just a matter of individuals, that the right ones would come along eventually and all would be well. But it's been so long and I've known so many people that it seems there is a greater disconnect at work here and that's what I'm trying to break through.
Yes the experience you mentioned I think is common.

Orla
 

Orla

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Tammie
As to the thing about anticipating needs, I get what you mean, but I also think that it is completely understandable to not want to always always have to ask for every little thing in a relationship. That does not mean that one should expect the other person to be a mind reader - just that a consistent and complete absence of any sort of reaching out gets really old really fast
I meant to reply to this earlier. Yes I agree with this. Even my cat knows to make a bit of an effort, even if it is only for her own ends!

Dainty
As a quick note, I'm really happy for you about the relationship. :)
Thanks Dainty. :hug:

agree with you that it is better to try to have relationships with healthy people as well as sick people as you can get different things out of the relationships. It is also good to have friends who are geographically close enough that they can visit from time to time.

Orla
 
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Another view

I was too brain fogged to read all these intricate discussions, it all seems so complicated. I'm wondering if the length of time you'all have been sick and the degree of disability is a big factor in this thread.

I've had CFS since I was about 44 and I'm 60 now. The first 2 or 3 years I was really sick and did lose some friends because I couldn't do anything with anybody. I've slowly improved somewhat and am now to the point that I can do some things but really have to pace and am still bedridden at times. On my "up" days I pass for healthy, and try to avoid people when I'm on a down cycle.

I guess because I'm embarassed, I don't tell anybody I have an illness unless I have to. And I've found even people I've told, quickly forget since everyone really thinks about themselves more than me, and I usually don't look sick. I also don't like to remind myself I've got an illness, I like to think of myself as "normal". Also, I hate talking about my CFS, it's boring for me to do so, there are so many other things to talk about rather than illness.

Now I have quite a lot of friends who I go out with when feeling good and can phone when I'm too sick to go out. I really feel better for the friend contact even by phone. Now that I'm "old" I'm finding almost everyone who is a friend or acquaintence also has an illness. It's pretty hard to complain about my illness to my girlfriend who has all her heart arteries clogged, has had multiple heart attacks but can't have heart surgery due to yet another chronic illness she has. By the same token, she is great to talk to when we are both bedridden...she has a killer sense of humor despite her circumstances.

I recently met a new aquaintence who is turning into a friend. I thought she was normal but recently noticed a hand tremor. I found out she has diabetes and maybe more, we've never discussed it. She's quite a bit younger than me. I have friends who pass for normal who have had multiple brain surgeries and are still having seizures, horrendous back problems, young people with dystonia, seizures...it seems like everybody has something.

Anyway, I don't know if I'm contributing to your discussion, but I guess I've gotten used to this illness and am able to make and keep friends, old and new despite my condition.

I do have a role model...my uncle had so many health problems, he had TB and still has really bad asthma, he lost a leg and suffers phantom pains all the time. From the time I was a kid my cousins and I were used to going into his big bed where he watched TV while being bedridden a lot of the time. Yet he maintained a good humor and was always interesting to talk to. If I have to, I'll start inviting people to visit me in bed like he did. We always had a great time with him, and didn't think anything about the bedridden part.

Hollie
 

Wayne

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Kevin, are you promoting a website here? Are you trying to sell something? I can't quite figure out where you're coming from. Do you, or somebody you know, have ME/CFS?

Wayne