The Divide Between Friendship and Responsibility


The Divide Between Friendship and Responsibility

divide-mdMy husband is my life. Always has been. Yet, I have always tried to be there for my friends while they were going through their trials in life. They've called me in the middle of the night and I've driven miles to come rescue them from one situation or another. I've had close to nothing and given my last dollar to help them and more. All without asking for anything in return.

Yet, going through this last year and dealing with all the issues I've been dealing with, I have had little to no help. At first there were a few who rose to the occasion and have proved and continue to prove they care. But they are the same few. The people who have claimed to be my best friends for years, they are non-existent. Even still, while we are going through the turmoil of surgery after surgery when they want or need something they can call me. However, when I need to just talk they don't have the time.

It's like they feel I am exaggerating the hard times that we are experiencing because they shrug it off and two words into anything I have to say they've already flipped the conversation back around to themselves.

I recently reached out to a friend to ask why I hadn't heard from her. She's my husband's friend, as well. He'd talked to her several times and even sent her a message to say, 'Casandra is having a hard time and I really think she could use a friend to talk to.' To which her response was, 'I'll call her when I get a chance.' This was a month ago. Her response to me when I asked why I hadn't heard from her was, 'Well you never called me.'

Keep in mind, the last time I talked to her three months ago. I told her in the mornings, I spend prepping for the day because of Marc's seizures he cannot use the stove and being home by himself he needs to have things ready and available. In the mornings I am constantly on the phone with doctors offices and insurance companies. Keep in mind, my husband sees five specialists. As well, I told her I have to go to work, I have no time to take off, so during the day when I am at work, my breaks are used calling home to make sure I can get in touch with my husband and all is okay because I have no one to check on him during the day. And when I come home, I won't even go into that. So, the first time I get to actively sit and think, I should call so-and-so is probably about 11 p.m. or later and I doubt that is appropriate to call someone that late at night. So, no I don't really have the time to call you BUT you knowing my situation can call me. You could say, 'Hey, I haven't heard from Casandra or Marc in a while let me call and check on them.' Even if all I have is five minutes to stop and say, 'We're fine.' Because in three months, you could not find five minutes to call me? But when she's had lesser issues, I was there for her whenever she needed.

So, needless to say I was very hurt by this. But, I don't want that incident to sully our friendship but at what point do you really look at those around you given your situation and decide who you have time to worry about and who you can just leave behind?

Is it too much that I would think she could take the time to call me or am I really wrong because in the interim between all I am dealing with I should have been able to do the same?

Those few friends I do talk to now whether it email, text message, phone call, or a Facebook or Twitter message will contact me and say, 'How are you? It's been a few days.' I love it. And I respond, 'Sorry, I have been so busy but thank you for calling, we're fine.' Mostly, I try to keep people updated on Marc's progress on Facebook between doctors appointments or late at night when I think I haven't let anyone know how he's doing. It's easier for me to post a message on FB and let people respond than it is for me to call 20 different people. And they understand that but she doesn't.

I don't ever ask for anything. I am stubborn, I guess and I rarely ask for help. Only a few times have I actually called someone up and said I needed this or that. Mostly, I make it work with what I have. But me wanting her to reach out to me and call or anything seems to be upsetting to her like I am putting her in a bad place by asking her to do so when it's what she would normally do but since he's been sick she's been avoiding us and it shows.

I just want to know I still have those people in my life to lean on, even if I am not really using you to hold me up. It's the little communication I can get with those around me that keeps me sane in all of this.

I guess, I'm just wondering. Has anyone else encountered this situation? How do you handle it? Or what would you do if it happened to you?

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Jo Rozier

@Casandra P. \r\n\r\nIt's obvious WE (and I'm exhibit #1) are a little to free with the term \"friend.\" In reality we have a lot of acquaintances, some are co-workers, some neighbors, some are even relatives. They are nice people, fun to be with, etc, etc. However, if a key characteristic of a \"friend\" is someone who's there when YOU need them vs when it's most convenient for themselves, that's a truly small group... for any of us. Some can't make that sacrifice, most won't try.\r\n\r\nAs @Richard said it usually takes going through one of these hard times to realize who is who but once your in the midst, the separation is obvious isn't it. \r\n\r\nI try to enjoy my acquaintances for what and who they are, realizing the limits on their relationship; remembering that their lack of support is not always a reflection of their friendship... although it always feels like it. \r\n\r\nI also try to be a good friend, whether they fit the title or not. What's humbling is realizing how often I fail to measure up as a friend to others.

Casandra Porter

Thank you, all! It really makes me sad that we've all had to experience this and I wish it wasn't the case. This particular friend I have known since grade school so it makes it even that more upsetting. However, I the few that have helped and continue to help and I am grateful to have them now. \r\n\r\nThanks for your kind words. Again, I am so glad I have found this site. It has made such a difference.

Casandra Porter

Thanks, Cathy.

Casandra Porter

Thanks Pegi.

Casandra Porter

Thanks Richard.

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