Recently, I received a letter from Marcia. She says, “For the past 1.5 years, I’ve been balancing working full time, meeting the needs of my own family and being primary caregiver for my mom who is losing the cancer battle. I am weary and worn. I am so terribly disappointed in my circle of friends who are “too busy” to step in and help me. I go from being hurt to angry, and in the end I just avoid them. They just don’t understand. Is this typical? What should I do?”
Here is my response to Marcia’s questions:
You may be right; perhaps they do not understand the burden you are carrying. To them, you may seem to be handling everything just fine. Consider telling them you feel overwhelmed and need some help. Amanda, a cancer survivor, suggests that you plan a luncheon or a “Girl’s Night Out,” and hopefully you will have an opportunity to share your feelings and needs. This would also allow your friends a chance to ask you questions. This will help them feel comfortable around you.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask for what you need—people will usually respond with amazing generosity. Friends and family often want to help but don’t know how. Tell them or ask them to help you. For instance, when you need help with transportation ask a friend, “I was wondering if you could help me out by driving my mother to the doctor’s on Tuesday at 1 o’clock?”
Help your friends care.
Also, remember that friendship is a two-way street. Think of ways you can show interest in their lives. Do little favors for them. Ask them questions about their lives.