Friendship and truth

Steven Sabat gave a presentation about being a friend to someone with Alzheimer’s disease, and said in the face of dementia, people just don’t know what to do (or say), and I think this applies to other illnesses or crises too. This is why they ‘disappear’, not because they are bad people or don’t love you, they just don’t know what to do. I also lamented about friendship briefly on my Facebook page this week, and decided to add a few of the comments made there for further discussion. There is someone in my world, who I am related to, but who is not a friend to me, nor on my Facebook page but who stalks me through others, but then this week chastised me for something on my Facebook page. People, not life, are so hard to understand. Friendship should be easy. Honesty, mutual respect, loyalty, accepting each other unconditionally, being in the ‘presence’ of each other, enjoying moments together, being able to ‘look each other in the eye’ and know what is between you is real and honest. I think not having expectations of each other is important, but could be the hardest friendship goal of all. For me, being there for each other in the tough times, not just the easy times is important; showing up at a funeral, but not being supportive afterwards is not what I would consider a deep friendship, but it is a show of respect, which is also important; Real friends are there for the long haul, good and bad. I am thankful to have a lot of really good friends, in spite of having the symptoms of dementia. Occasionally though, I still feel disillusioned… hmm, perhaps I’m human rather than ‘demented’ after all??!!

“feeling upset about people who say they are friends, and who then just decide not to return calls or messages. Maybe they are not friends at all, as real friends would let you know if you had upset them, wouldn’t they? Maybe I need to re-evaluate my world and life, once again? Who knows, maybe I shouldn’t care? Or maybe I just need to ‘Toughen up Princess’ as some very good friends of mine say!! Build a bridge, get over it, get over yourself, maybe all of those things too? Arrgh, life and people can sometimes be so hard to understand…” (This was me on FB (!), and the following are some wonderful responses)

“real friends would know that they could say ‘I didn’t like it when…’ and know after a moment of hurt all would be forgiven…”

“in my short 40 odd years on earth I have discovered that you never really know anyone and people who you never would think would let you down are the first ones who do.”

“Why don’t people know what to say?  Why can’t they see this is when you need them?  Well, it’s fear, isn’t it. It has to be.   Mostly fear of saying the wrong thing.  I know it was for me when my best friends’ son was killed in a stupid accident. And what did I say?  Blah blah blah.  A load of rubbish.  But they know I love them and always will.  When it comes to caring for somebody I think a lot of people esp. family get  unexpectedly and immediately complacent about the carer’s ability to do what they cannot or are not doing themselves.  Well, that’s how it was for me when I was caring for my Mum.  I’m not very good at forgiveness but I am very experienced in ‘overlooking’.  PS.  I think venting is great for the soul!”

“it’s not what you say but the message behind it… they would have loved you for caring enough to be there even though it was tough…”

“Wow, such a wonderful conversation here.. I do think fear is part of it, and not being able to face up to being honest with others too.”

“Drives me crazy when someone complains about something we all have to face in life, but they talk in the manner as if no one else has the same issues and they are the only one facing it.”

“I hate when you discover a side to someone you never thought you would see.”

This is an open discussion, and I’d love your comments and insights into friendship, lost friendships, shallow or deep and loving friendships, or anything else you want to write about regarding your own experience of friendship and truth. Love, life, friendship, and loss is there for us all, we just have to seize each and every day.

11 thoughts on “Friendship and truth

  1. Unfortunately that is true, when life throws curveballs, some people disappear because they don’t know what to do. I like your statement “there not bad people”-so true. Although, i wish my Grandad didn’t have dementia, one of the positives of his diagnosis is that i am aware of dementia now, and if any one else got dementia i would understand the degree of there illness and how to assist them. Perhaps people who disappear, might have never had a relative with dementia or know nothing about dementia. You are right “real friends do say to someone, you have upset me with…, or i don’t like the way…is talking to me”.


  2. I adore the golden rule “treat others as you would want to be treated.”

    I don’t understand why this is so hard or ignored by so many.


  3. I firmly believe in friends ‘for reasons and seasons’….some come, some go, some are in and out of your life…you never know which is which, which I think is where the problems can occur. As I grow in maturity I hope I am allowing people to be the friends they’re able to be and trying (not always successfully) to load their actions (or in-action) with my feelings and/or perceptions.
    Some people are just crap at relationships.
    And othertimes it’s just not worth your energy to try and address an issue with someone.
    Hope today is a better day and filled with people who bring you joy.
    (PS – I’m a new reader to your blog. I was at the Alz Conf in Wellington – really enjoying your writing)


  4. another wonderful blog as usual, i can remember when you first told me of your dementia, then you where also told you had motor neurone,(i thank god each day that was probably wrong) and i came to visit and we cried and laughed and cried some more, i thank god (again/still ha) and your strong will to live that I/we still have you here with us, cos as your blog says we are here for the long haul and the longer the bloody better you are here i say, i love your venting keep it up. whether we all agree or disagree. you go girl. to the moon and back. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


  5. This is a riddle we will never be able to solve!!!
    Dr JA once said to me “humans are capable of everything, and anything”. Think of this pretty much every day, as i experience life’s ups and downs, and of course see everyone else doing the same thing.
    Good news is easy to share. Sad news quite the opposite.
    Passive aggression is more the norm, instead of open dialogue.
    There is a time and a place to express disappointment in someone’s behavior, yet mostly it’s done behind our backs (yes I am guilty like everyone else!). Is this gossip, or verbalising in an attempt to get it all out to figure out a solution? Probably both. I guess being honest foremost to ourself is the key.
    Weigh things up. In the big scheme of life what (who) is important? If it feels like a ”friend’ is sabotaging you, ask is that the kind of friend you want? And hell- aren’t women the worst offenders!!!!!? Bitchiness abounds, jealousy perhaps?
    I try to ‘look in the mirror’ first in a situation- what part have I played in the scenario? We all favor our own version of events, and there is always three sides to a story-
    It’s better to hug and cry and blah blah blah with someone over sad news, than to ignore their pain. Who or what doesn’t benefit from a damn fine hug?
    Love you Kate, thanks for your honesty and humanity.
    You just know what to do, and when, and don’t make a song &dance about it (or post it on bloody FB telling everyone how fabulous you are…..). Which you are, by the way xxxxxxxxxxxx


  6. Years ago, when I took on a new job, one of my team of programmers was deaf, from birth. It was a frightening experience, I felt out of my depth, how do I communicate with a deaf person? During those inital days, I learnt that most deaf people find lip reading difficult, most of the time, and in my case with a beard and mo, even harder. My manager couldn’t help as he had avoided direct contact as he felt the same! I knew vaguely of another deaf manager, and made contact again, to discover he was then a Director and had a PA to assist with communication, but he was a great aid. I am so pleased that situation crossed my path and I had to cope.

    I mentioned a book I am reading in another post ‘Giving Voice to Values’. This is largely about how can one Act on our values. This seems to be the issue here. How do we get the moral courage to risk all and do what we know we want and should do?

    Maybe we need to pracise and establish a routine, eg, practice saying, I feel out of my depth and anxious I might offend or seem patronising, etc, how should I behave? At funerals, make a definite appointment to visit, phone, etc. Why shouldn’t we use a ‘reminder or check list’ of things we must do, ways we ought to behave, in situations like this that are not familiar, don’t occur often, etc? How would you react if everyone was using the same checklist, and asking the same question?



  7. I struggle with this concept as well, many people in my life have left me perplexed as to their motives for wanting to be my friend. I apologise when at times I know it’s not my fault, I cry when perhaps joy should be the emotion and I love in the face of adversity. This does not make me a great friend it makes me an honest one, warts and all.


  8. I have found myself in this situation with a friend who I considered to be someone who I implicitly trusted. I had so much respect for this person, I was devastated when she decided to turn her back on me as a friend. I was surprised just how heart broken I felt; almost like a boyfriend breaking up with you for no apparent reason. She didn’t take the time to talk about her feelings to me, but chose to distance herself. I cried because I never in a million years thought this friend was capable of hurting me in such a deep and profound way! So, perhaps you never really know anyone, or perhaps it’s those who have a spiritual impact on you who teach you the hardest lessons. Either way I maintain that it’s better to have loved and lost, then never to have loved at all!


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