I have always been somewhat of a loner. My circle of friends has always been very small. There have been a few times where I have been vulnerable and let people get too close and know too much of my personal business have gotten burned. As a result, I keep most people at a distance, never letting them know I’m in pain, hurting, depressed or in need. I put on a happy face and let everyone think life is good.
When I developed cancer, I needed help. I had no idea how much help I would need. This is when I found out who my real friends were. My real friends are not people I talk to everyday. I may talk to them once a week, once a year or even once every 5 years. These are the things I realized about real friends.
- Real friends show up for you. – They go above and beyond the call of duty. They don’t wait to be asked, they just volunteer. They call and see what you need help with. They show up with food or flowers. They show up to help with the kids. They show up to keep you company. They just show up.
- Real friends keep your personal information private. They don’t share your pain, and breakdowns with the world. They don’t talk about how bad you looked after treatment or how you really look without your make-up.
- Real friends go out of the way for you. – They will travel hours to see you and make sure you are okay. They will cancel their plans at a moments notice to help out in any way they can.
- Real friends let you know they are thinking about you. They send small gifts or cards to brighten your day. They call and send text messages just to encourage you and let you know they are thinking about you. They don’t disappear after the race starts, they realize cancer treatment is a marathon and continue to check on you as you complete the course.
- Real friend still find time to check on you, even when they have their own stuff going on. They may not be able to physically help, but they still send a quick text message or call. They find ways to help from afar.
- Real friends don’t get mad if they don’t get an immediate acknowledgement of the help. They know you appreciate what they did and don’t need to hear thank you right away.
I must admit before getting sick, I lived in my personal bubble. I didn’t realize how much a quick text, call or visit means to someone going through a storm. I now have a better understanding of what it means to be a friend and how to be a better one.
Have your friendships changed as a result of getting cancer?
: Getting cancer has taught me how to be a better friend.