How To Lose Friends And Alienate People

IMG-20130511-00150Having something as serious as MS enter your life changes it forever. Family, work, future plans, and of course, health.

Sadly, it also lets you find out who your true friends are.

Right from the start, cherished friends deserted my sinking ship just when I needed them most. Some left abruptly without a backwards glance, others backed away slowly, step by step.

Why? I guess there are many reasons. Were they worried they’d be roped into looking after me? Would I rely on them more than usual? Were we now too different, too alienated from each other to have much in common any more?

Conversely, other friends rose to the challenge – they stuck by me through everything. They listened to me rant and rave, they wiped my tears, poured my wine and probably ended up knowing more about MS than they could ever have imagined.

Two years on, I thought nothing else could surprise me. I have a fantastic circle of friends and I hope I’m a good friend to them too, and as the MS crisis has receded, our relationship has re-balanced itself.

A couple of weeks ago, my world was rocked once more. An old friend got back in touch. We met years ago in work and although we only kept in touch sporadically, we always picked up where we left off.

We chatted by text and I suggested he look at my blog to catch up with everything that had happened since we last spoke. And that was the last I heard from him.

I feel hurt. Actually, I feel extremely hurt. And angry. The ripples and repercussions from MS are still going on, two years down the line.┬áNow I’m semi-housebound once more after falling last week, I have too much time on my hands to reflect on this. And do you know what? It’s all good.

Those ‘friends’ who’ve left have made way for even better friends. They took their hang-ups and made space for new friends to fill the void.

If any of my friends ever face a situation like I have and I’m not sure how to handle it, the least I can say is, ‘I don’t know what to do or say, but I am here for you, you know that.’ And that is the mark of a real friend.

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16 thoughts on “How To Lose Friends And Alienate People

  1. Chris says:

    I like the picture. There appears to be a pair of hands hidden under the duvet.

    Although your story is clearly personal, I fear that it is one that is all too often repeated whenever disablitlies or other life changing events occur.

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Hi Chris,
      I think you’re right. My mum remembers a similar thing happening to her when she was widowed.
      Like I said at the end of the post, if you don’t know what to do or say, just say that!! Friends appreciate honesty.
      X

  2. Samantha Thompson says:

    Hi,

    Sad post but very true.

    So sorry this happened to you xx

    I find this subject upsetting because I don’t have any close friends to see if they would have stood by me. My family have been pretty crap, the exception of course is my mum xx
    Then, my Saturday work colleagues have been helping me so I don’t have to make the awful decision to leave yet. They care enough to know just how gut wrenching that moment will be.
    What I have learnt in just over 2 months is that all bets are off when it comes to a serious diagnosis like this.

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Hi Sam
      Families are just the same as friends really – mine have been ‘random’ but my mum has been amazing, like yours. And in a strange way, we’re probably closer since this has all started.
      People never cease to amaze me, especially this ‘friend’ in my blog post. He would have been the last person I would have suspected of doing this!
      x

  3. Melissa says:

    The last thing you need is someone who is just going to walk away, especially when it comes to something like MS. I know it’s not easy, but it’s better that you know now then down the road when you are looking for support and he bolts.

    Stay strong honey! xoxo

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Thanks Melissa!
      Very true. And yes, at least I know now, rather than later. Not sure if I’m sad as I miss my friend or angry because he did this!!
      X

  4. Julie says:

    I have typed and deleted several comments recently, my head isn’t functioning too well right now and I keep rambling on. But I want to say, his loss. If he doesn’t feel up to being a friend to someone under these circumstances, or if he can’t be bothered to try, then I feel sorry for him, and you are better off without him.
    Holding onto anger though is like throwing a hot coal at someone, it is you that gets burned.
    I hope your leg is mending well, concentrate on the good stuff in your day.

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Hi Julie,
      Thank you for your comment – love the coal analogy! Very, very true.
      I’m definitely better off without him. Still stunned that he would turn out to be one of those who walk away. Shows how much I really didn’t know him, lol.
      I am definitely going to concentrate on the fab friends I do have and not worry about him.
      Leg’s getting there slowly but surely! Am getting cabin fever, but so hard to go out.
      X

  5. Anita says:

    Sadly this is so true. Don’t let them bring you down its very upsetting and hurtful but you can’t change them. You are still young enough to find new friendships as you have found so surround yourself with those people. They say we are lucky if we have one true friend in life x

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Hi Anita,
      What a lovely comment, thank you!
      You are right. And with all that’s happened with my leg (still painfully bruised!), my friends has been amazing.
      It’s been really comforting to have had so many offers of help and support. I just hope I can do the same for them whenever they need help too.
      X

  6. Mark says:

    Another thought provoking post , Thankyou

  7. Becky says:

    http://boggingaboutms.blogspot.com/

    Some people just cant handle the diagnosis of MS, but what they don’t realize is we have that plus the loss of a friend or support to deal with. I hope you don’t mind but I attached the link to my own blog, of which you inspired me to do. It has helped me find an arena to deal with some of the things I go theough that I dont have great support otherwise. I hoe it hepls others like yours did me.Hang in there and get better soon.

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Hi Becky,
      Thank you for your comment – an angle I hadn’t thought about before! It’s all about losses and more forms of ‘bereavement’. When our lives are disrupted and we’re dealing with a whole new way of living, it can be even harder when old friends disappear. It makes our foundations even more rocky.
      Thank you for linking the post and am so chuffed to have been an inspiration! I find blogging like therapy – I put a random topic out there and the feedback I get makes me sort through my own feelings and think about stuff I hadn’t considered before. It’s a brilliant form of support.
      I’m slowly getting better, but it’s taking much longer than I thought…
      X

  8. [unprintable comment about your “friend”]

    So sorry to read this; people’s true colors often are icky shades of cat-vomit-after-eating-plants-and-a-bowl-of-orangey-dry-food or revolting-beef-stroganoff-that’s-been-left-in-a-container-in-the-back-of-the-fridge-for-weeks.

    Well, you always have us, your blogosphere pals, but I know it’s not the same as a friend you can physically get together with. Unless we plan a massive MS-bloggers holiday!

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Couldn’t agree more CrankyPants! And can you imagine all the MS bloggers on holiday?! Would give us enough blogging material for the next year or so, lol.
      My bloggy/twitty friends are fabulous – don’t think I would feel half as connected without them, especially now I’m pretty much housebound. Meh.
      X

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