disappearing friends

disappearing friends

disappearing friends I ve been diagnosed six days and two of my so called best friends did not phone over the weekend to see how I was, and when I saw them showed very limited interest. As if its not bad enough to cope with this I feel my friends are leaving me to. How could people be so hurtful? Has anyone else had this trouble and how did you cope?

Hi chrisw

I sort of found that too.

I guess I don’t have really close friends here as I am living hundreds of miles away from home the few friends I have made here were brilliant and kept popping in to see me. In fact we live in a very remote area and two of these friends had to make 3/4 hour journeys to pop by!!! So that was really nice. A couple of my old friends from down south did keep in contact on the phone/net and were really concerned about me, especially the times I was admitted with NS.

Unfortunately there were many more that were told and ran the opposite way rather than face me!! Maybe people think it’s catching like STD’s?? (hee, hee…) How did I cope? Held my head high and said sod them and concentrated on being positive and getting out the other end of treament.

All I can say is for every friend that avoided me I found better & more loyal friends that have given/are giving me strength and support throughout the journey. I am sure you will find many of your friends that will be the same - cherish them.

Luv Lynn x

reply Welcome to the forum. I think sometimes that it is fear that makes people take a step backwards. They are afraid they say the wrong thing or find it difficult to deal with.
It can take time for it to sink in and also some people genuinely do not no what to say. It also brings home how vulnerable everyone can be.

This is a very trying time for you and if they don’t show interest or contact you don’t beat yourself up about it. Concentrate on looking after yourself as you are the important person at this time.

You will get stronger as you go along and I am sure you will find lots of support to help you sometimes from people you least expect.

Take care and love from

they don’t know what to say Hi Chris

Thistle is absolutly right, lots of peolpe don’t know what to say. I think it helps if you are open and frank and don’t hold back, let people know just what you are going through.

Early on I had an issue with my daughter. My sons were very attentive, phoning daily and visiting often. My daughter phoned less!

Every time I went to ask her why I started crying and had to leave the room so she would’nt see.

I decided to email her so I could get over my fears and how upset I was that she appeared not to care. I was very worried about this but it was the best thing. She emailed me straight back to say she would visit me soon so we could talk. It broke the ice. We went for a walk, arm in arm and she told me she just didn’t know what to say or do. Now I had told her she would do anything for me.

It has brought us closer together. We speak regularly on the phone and I am frank when she asks. With all my kids, I have kept some stuff from them as I don’t want to worry them unecessarily so they never knew about the bone scan when I tought I had secondaries, but mostly we have a very open and close relationship. One good thing to come out of BC I suppose!

Quickly on another point, I have had numerous visits from fa couple of friends we had lost touch with, friends from our young days who we just visited once every 5 yrs or so and sent xmas cards. They have become very close and good friends again. So it just goes to show, the friends you think are your ‘best’ friends may not be, and those you dismiss as past aquaintances can become close again.

Hope this helps!

Take care


Keep smiling Hi Chris and thanks for starting this thread which I have found very interesting. I totally agree that some people just do not know what to say or how to express their feelings. I suppose I tend to compare their reaction (or lack of it) with how I would behave if I were in their place.
Am really upset that a few of my close friends have not even commiserated via email let alone the phone. For me this is a reoccurence after a remission of 17 years - am 68 - had wide excision of lump last month and have just started Arimidex. I am also sad that my husband, who is a retired doctor and brilliant with his patients, is unable to show much concern for me. But I should have learnt - last time he went fishing for 3 weeks just after I came out of hospital. I suppose we have to accept that everyone is different and just get on with our lives. I am off to a yoga class and the gym.

When I was first diagnosed I found too that friends avoided calling and one day questioned them on it. They all said the same things about why they didn’t call. Didn’t want to disturb me if I was asleep, in pain, vomiting from chemo or spending quality time with husband/ family. They also said they felt bad about telling me what they had been up to - like out drinking and dancing, or having a new hairdo for example in case it upset me.

I told my friends to call whenever they wanted and if it was a bad time for me for any reason I either wouldn’t answer or my husband would answer and take a message. I also told them that I still wanted to hear about the mad nights out and all the normal stuff they had been up to.

I’m almost a year post diagnosis now and am settling back into the madness nicely. Thoroughly enjoying the drunken nights out with the girls and being adventurous with my new hair. I’m also going back at work for the first time in 11 months.

It’s a very scary place to be when you are first diagnosed but I found that the time during treatment flies by and I can’t believe where I am now

My advice would be to be straight with your friends; just tell them you want to chat, maybe they think you don’t. If they still don’t call or visit then perhaps you are better off without those ones

Take care and good luck,

Carla x

disappearing friends Dear Chris,

I’m sorry you have had this experience with your friends. I totally agree with what other replies have said: sometimes the people you most expect support from are the ones who can’t handle the situation either through fear of saying the wrong thing or worrying that they’re disturbing you when you’re not up to it. or just sheer fear of the cancer diagnosis. What will surprise you is the people you don’t know very well who will give you more support practically and emotionally than you woud have expected. I had a mastectomy on May 30th last year followed by chemo, rads, and now Tamoxifen and Herceptin. I’ve just started back at work and am taking a group of friends out for a meal next month to celebrate coming through it all. Out of the group, five of them are ladies I hadn’t even met at this time last year but who I now regard as firm friends.
Good luck with your treatment,

Welcome to the site Chrisw.

I have the same problem a friend of 50 years who used to often visit us, has not been near or by since I was diagnosed…she telephones me nearly everyday but never visits, I am now finding everytime I phone her she has some thing wrong with her, she had a tooth out the other day and she made such a fuss over it…Strange how some people react.

One thing is for sure you have lots of friends on here.

Hugs Val. XXXX.

Hi Chrisw I also agree with what the others have said.
I found that friends I thought would be there for me weren’t…and ones were that I thought were not that close to me…with the exception of my dearest friend, who was and still is always there for me.
What I found was that because my friend worked at the same place as me people were asking her how I was rather than asking me…even she became very annoyed with them…so much so that when I had a slight scare last year and they began asking her again she turned roubd and said to them ‘’ why don’t you pick the phone up and ask karen yourself’'…which they did!!
I’ve found that they talk alot easier about cancer to me now and most are very aware of how I feel when check-ups etc., come around.
I will say though, as time has gone on I have become less tolerable of certain people…and maybe quite selfishly sometimes think to myself, blow you, you couldn’t be bothered with me when I needed it…Iknow two wrongs don’t make a right but I think this disease makes you lee tolerant about alot of things.
I have however found lots of friends on this site and others…some of whom I’m very close to.

karen x


What you are experiencing appears to be very common. I went through it as some family members and some close friends distanced themselves after diagnosis. One of my relatives said it took her a long time to “get her head round it” and so didn’t phone - I don’t know how she thought I was getting my head round it! One of my oldest friends never phoned or came to see me and when I finally confronted her she admitted she had been wrong but she was afraid of saying the wrong thing and was waiting for me to take the lead as that is what the website she looked at advised! What all this made me realise is that most people are emotionally stunted and can’t cope with really emotionally challenging situations especially when it comes to a potentially life threatening situation like cancer. Maybe I would have been just as inept? I got very upset about all this at first then came to terms with it - remember it is a failing on their part not on yours - you will get support usually from unexpected sources and you will amaze yourself with the inner strength you have. The first couple of months from diagnosis is awful but it does get easier. Best of luck with the treatment and look after yourself and let other people worry about themselves.

Chloe x

Hi Chris

Unfortunately something like breast cancer seems to separate the true friends from the fairweather ones.

Personally, I don’t buy the ’ they don’t know what to say’ line. Is it really so difficult? “I’m sorry you’re going through this - is there anything I can do to help?” usually does the trick.

Long before I had breast cancer I found out that a distant friend’s brother had been killed in a motorbike accident. I didn’t know what to say, either, but I gave it a go. I called her up and said, “I’m so sorry - can I come and see you?” I did and I will always remember how grateful she was. She told me lots of people had stayed away and it meant a lot to her just being able to talk about her brother.

Putting your own feelings of discomfort ahead of a friend’s need for emotional support is just plain selfish. I’m sorry, but that’s my stance and I won’t budge from it. I can understand it with those you aren’t particularly close to but there is really no excuse with close friends and family.

If it is upsetting you I would say something while you are still angry enough to care. My best friend has always been a bit self-centred and during chemo she never once offered to attend an appointment with me, cook, shop or help out with my baby. In fact I saw and heard less of her following diagnosis than I did previously. I got the odd card and a set of ‘friendship candles’ (how very ironic!)

I decided not to say anything and always planned to do it once I’d got treatment over and done with. Well, last week I told her I felt she hadn’t been there for me as much as I’d have liked and she said, “Oh, please don’t think I’ve been deliberately avoiding you - I’ve just been busy with work and so on.” Well, thanks - that makes me feel really special. I just let it go because, to be honest, I no longer have the energy.

Off my soapbox now! Those who can forgive and forget are bigger women than I am.

Lola x

Oh, I should add that, just like Lynn, I also made some amazing new friends and have been astounded at how some unlikely people have pulled through for me.

I had recently moved to a new area when I was diagnosed. One day I got home and there was a bouquet of flowers on my doorstep with a card, saying:

“I’ve heard you haven’t been well. If there is anythng at all I can do to help please let me know. I can cook, shop, chauffeur, babymind. I’m at home all day, every day. Pam, no 117.”

At that point I didn’t even know what Pam looked like! So,you see, there are angels out there and maybe your current friends just don’t have what it takes. It’s sad, but no-one ever said friends have to be for life. You will make new ones. Better ones.

Lola x

Hi Everyone
Just wanted to say I have had a similar experience with my oldest…thought she was my closest friend…one phonecall in the 2 months between diagnosis and mastectomy and recon…she is also the only one not to send a getwell card…not that im counting them.
This time last year i spent hours every day on the phone to her when her husband walked out on her…i have found it extremely upsetting.
However i too have made so many friends thru this experience that i have come to the decision that one lost but at least 5 gained is a blessing.
It was more of a shock to be honest that she just doesnt seem to care…and i know she is not the type of person to not know what to say, even her parents have sent me a card to say they are thinking of me…
This thread has helped me realise it happens to others…and whilst upsetting at the time there are so many other lovely friends who make up for their abscence.
Love Anna x

Hallo Hi there

Just to say that I know what you mean. In fact I have found some surprising people have been so good and caring, and yet those I thought would be there for me have not been. But on the whole I have been amazed and humbled by people’s care and love. I take extra care to respond to everyone who reaches out and to make sure I ask them how they are before talking about me (I know I am getting a bit self-obsessed as I go through all this stuff). Things happen to others as well despite my cancerous existence! Sorry to sound ike Pollyanna but it works. Means that they still phone back if you have a cry at them one time.

And this site makes you new friends to help you through it all.

Keep your strength up and much love