Is it possible have friendships with "normals"?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Shannonsparkles, Jun 28, 2006.

  1. Shannonsparkles

    Shannonsparkles New Member

    I'm a very outgoing person, but there are few "normals" I click with.

    (Please excuse the term "normals." I started a thread a while back questioning its use, and we generally thought it was an okay thing to call people who don't have the DD, for lack of a better term.)

    When I do get to liking someone who doesn't have the DD, I eventually discover that they are either in physical pain all the time, or have weathered severe emotional trauma. These people are mature, kind, and accepting. They know that one cheerful word is better than a million "I'm sorry for you's." Not many people who aren't sick somehow seem to warm up to me, except for people who have worked in health care and are not phased by illness.

    I'm having a hard time figuring this out. I don't talk about my illness when I visit people over the phone. I've been told that I'm funny, warm, caring, and I listen to all that's going on in their lives and laugh with them... Am I doing something wrong?

    Or could it just be that people aren't comfortable around a very sick person? Could it be that they forget to call me back because I'm housebound, so they don't get to see me regularly or do things with me? (I'm also too sick for visitors. It's like how it's hard for me to watch TV - too much information having a visual of a person as well as hearing the voice, makes me dizzy when people move their hands, etc.)

    One thing that bothers me is when I call people, and they say, "Oh, I think about you all the time, and wonder how you are!" And I want to blurt out, "So why don't you call me?" And I remind them to call any time. But they don't call me back.

    Where is the problem in this? Is it something I'm doing or saying wrong? Is it just that I'm sick and people don't like to be around sick? Do they not know what to say? Does my physical condition make them uncomfortable? Do they forget that I'm here?

    I don't blame anyone for being uncomfortable. I've stopped feeling bitter a long time ago about people not calling me. I still phone people I know regularly to try to cheer THEM up and see how THEY are doing, without talking about my symptoms or anything like that. I enjoy the calls. But why don't we click?

    Is there something I can do to win over the Normals? Or should I just focus my efforts on being faithful to the people who really care about me and can stand to be around me?

    Thanks everyone. That's my vent of the day. :(
    (((rrrriiiiiinnnnnggggg...))) Shannon
  2. 69mach1

    69mach1 New Member

    is that i am up for spur of the moment things to do...because i feel badly sometimes when i need to cancel plans...and they other friend gets miffed because they were counting on me to do something w/them...

    i have rekindle some old fridnships...yeah

    jodie
  3. Shannonsparkles

    Shannonsparkles New Member

    Here's something I've noticed in talking with sick people versus talking with healthy people. Maybe you've noticed it too.

    I volunteer by phoning old and sick people when I am able, and well as calling healthier people. Old people are in pain and usually have some diseases too. But, while they don't gloss over their suffering, they are so cheerful and fun. And they accept me as I am.

    When I call your average middle-aged person, or even an older person who is fairly healthy, they seem to feel they have to fix me. About the first thing they ask me is what sort of treatments I'm doing now and when I'm going to get better. I don't want to talk about that stuff! I get the feeling that being sick is just not okay. Then they start giving me advice, and that hurts.

    I've been housebound more or less for six years, so I haven't had a lot of people contact, s please fill me in with your own experiences. I'm probably wrong about a lot of things. This is just my ramble space.
  4. bpmwriter

    bpmwriter New Member


    most normals deal in the world of the physical. friendships are based on your ability to be physically present when they want to see you and able to participate in whatever outing the day calls for. the people we click with in my experience are those that take a more corporeal or spiritual (not necessarily religious) approach to life. these are people tuned in to the fact that yes indeed the body does fail us sometimes, but there is whole other world outside the body that's just as real and perhaps more dependable.
  5. suzette1954

    suzette1954 New Member

    who would be your friend but I havent found them. I lost all of my work friends when I left. A couple tried calling me a few times but now that I think about it, Im the one who wouldnt answer the phone. I was so sad and devastated to talk to them and so I lost them too.

    The first yr at home, I thought I would go crazy!! I started depending more and more on my poor hubby (Im a people person) for companionship along with having to take on the role of caregiver. I dont know how he did it. Now after 2 yrs, I have no friends and the family doesnt even get it so Im mostly on my own.

    I learned I had to get out so I joined the YMCA and that has been a blessing. I do water arobics and use the outdoor pool now that it is summer and I talk to strangers everywhere I go (which isnt much).

    It sounds like a pathatic life and it is. But everymorning, God lets me get up even with the pain and Im going swimming today and I love that.

    Instead of helping you, Ive talked about myself, but thats what this board is for.

    We always understand and you can kind of make friends here on line and that helps. I look for the screen names of those Ive seen and liked and I love helping the new ones too.

    Suzette
  6. onlythestrong

    onlythestrong New Member

    I always said that I attract "problem people" and what I mean by that is all of my friends have problems of some kind and I think that because of the fibro and the pain that we all have make us all so compassionate and understanding that we draw people with problems because we can always deal with their problems because theirs seem so mild compared to ours.
    I really don't know!
    Love & hugs
    Mary
  7. wuki1

    wuki1 New Member

    somewhat fearful of us? That's not quite the right word but I don't know how to phrase it. I think we remind them of the fact that life can change at any second, and that diseases and even death are real. For some people, especially those who have not had to deal with this, that is not what they want to think about. I think this is almost a subconscious thing.

    Just my opinion.
    K.
  8. KelB

    KelB New Member

    I still have the same friends I did before I got ill. One of them was diagnosed with CFS after me, but she'd had the symptoms for 6 years before me, misdiagnosed as Post Natal Depression. I was friends with her through that and never once thought about breaking off our friendship.

    Plenty of my friends have serious medical problems that bring their own limitations (Crohns seems to be particularly rife around here), and I'm friends with them same as I always have been.

    Guess it depends on the type of friends you have and their attitudes toward illness. I happen to be very lucky - just wish all the folks here had the same support.

    Of course this means I can't speak from experience, but in your situation Shannon, I wouldn't bother trying to "win round" those who are belittling you or who choose not to understand. Concentrate on the people who value you for who you are, and accept you no matter what. Don't stress over the things )and the people) you can't change.

    An illness - ANY illness - should not affect a friendship that's worth having.
  9. place

    place New Member

    My problem is that I don't have the energy to put into a relationship. When I feel good, I get the things done that need to get done.

    I have kept only those who are truly wonderful people and would walk on fire to help me. Those types of people are rare.

    You have to put in the physical time. And people don't understand that one day your hilarious witty and the next day you could not formulate a comprehensive sentence to save your life.

    They don’t understand why you say you will do something or call next Thursday and then you don’t. Being a consistent friend is hard for use due to the fluctuation in our health.

    And most of all, I have noticed that people base there friendships on their needs or commonality to share.

    Some people just like to have a good time, some people need support with difficult times, some are lonely, others like people who are similar or completely different then themselves.

    But it always comes down to spending time and energy with those people (something that we are limited in).


  10. Tantallon

    Tantallon New Member

    and I've known most of them for 10/15 years, so they have seen the change in me and just accept it, they know I'm ill, but I'm still one of the gang.

    Sue
  11. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    Us.

    In my opinion, bpmwriter nailed it. We, by necessity, have gone past Doing and now relate best to Being. Those who become our friends are in that same place.

    Marta
  12. tomcollins

    tomcollins New Member

    I used to have friends, and really good ones-but since I have gotten sick that has all changed. My used to be best friend will not return my desperite atempts to contact her.

    My parents divorced and selfish have now decided to abondon me even more now that I am sick-and they refuse to help me out in any way. The group that I was apart of has left me in the dust. People that I was very close to before now seem to fear me, and are scared to talk to me.

    I have a few kinda friends, who care if it is convient for them and I have my wife-who I simply could not live without...we both have lost a lot of friends over the last few years.

    I do find that the few people I do have contact with-they do not understand why I can be myself one day...and a vegetable the next. My unpredictability has effected every aspect of my life and that makes it hard enough to live-let alone entertian others.

    I have no real solution, just wanted to say-I'm going through it too.
  13. kat2002

    kat2002 New Member

    Yes, it is quite possible to have good friendships with "normals"!

    Almost all of my normal friends understand that there will be times that I cannot follow through on plans. Many are willing to help (run errands, etc) if they are asked. They just do not know when I need help or what to do to help, unless I tell them!

    I am always careful not to make my disease the focus of our friendship, and it seems to work well that way for me. Maybe I am just blessed with really good friends, but I definitely believe that good friendships with normals is possible.

    Good luck,
    Kat
  14. razorqueen

    razorqueen Member

    I have found that Normals don't know how to "deal" with people who are not well. I have had people who I thought where my friends all of a sudden abandon me and just plain ignore me. Do I come off being needy? I don't know. I do need friends, thats for sure. But it doesn't seem to work.
    We live out in the "booneys" too, which doesn't help. No one wants to drive way out here. If anything, I have to drive to town or to the other persons house if I want to see anyone.
    Plus it seems everyone is so busy with their own lives they don't have time for someone who can't live at the same pace as them.
    I do have one friend, but she is ill too, she suffers from severe depression, so she knows what it is like . She can relate to me.
    I am tired of going the extra mile to make new friends, only to get no response, or always being the one to call or make any kinds of plans to get together.
  15. fibrohugslife

    fibrohugslife New Member

    It really depends on the person you are dealing with. If they are open to your illness and willing to listen then you are in good company.

    I had to drop all of mine as there were just so toxic and too much for me to bear with. Plus their connections with my old church made things worse,and stressed me out physically and mentally.

    I have a few friendships that have lasted over the last few years but I know them online. Someday I will get to visit them. I am hoping after I finish my schooling. I will get it done.

    Anyway I date and most guys do not understand and so many times I don't mention what I go through. Some guys get a little hurt that I don't mention all that I am going through but to open myself up like that is hard, especially when they fall off the face of the planet.

    I desire to have friendships with other women in my area but have not met anyone. It is awfully lonely to not have anyone to go to places with.

    So I just let it be....it will happen all in time.

    I wish you the best with your friendships.
  16. kjfms

    kjfms Member

    IMOH are pretty simple for me. I get out of them what I
    put into them.

    If I don't put an effort into a relationship I can't expect it to remain the same and grow.

    I just do not think illness has anything to do with it, for me anyway.

    Everyone has some sort of baggage. I just think the key is to not let ruin relationships. Just my opinion that and a buck twenty five might buy you a cup of coffee...LOL

    Thanks,

    Karen
  17. lovethesun

    lovethesun New Member

    if you call musicians and musicians wives normal!lol Linda
  18. secondstar

    secondstar New Member

    It has never ceased to shock me how former "friends" will react when they discover that something is "wrong with you." I always wonder. . .how can they live with themselves when they know they are avoiding you when you need them the most?

    It's true that people who have been through tough times are often more mature and accepting, but I have faith that there are at least a couple of good souls out there somewhere among the "normals."

    As for all the "normals" who have abandoned us, I have one word for them. . .karma. I know that there will come a time when they will need someone, and all of their "normal" friends will abandon them, and they will depend on the rest of us to pick up the pieces.

    I promise to be there for them as best as I can. . .
  19. vbjess

    vbjess New Member

    Apparently I've had strange reactions from people.

    When I first got sick, I was in my first semester of college. The close circle of friends that I had made in that semester took care of me as my health declined those months.

    When it was time to move home for a while, I enlisted the help of an old friend from church to help me move. He was attending a college near mine. I picked him up on the way to my school, he helped me move, and I took him back to school, all in one day. That was a long day. I only made it because I'd slept the past three weeks straight!

    Because of this connection, he knew a little more than most of my friends from our church. One other friend from church went on a road trip with me back up to my school to visit those friends I made that semester, and she knew more than most as well. Those two are my closest of my friends from church, and are my closest friends in the area.

    However, I am in year three of this DD, and since I "look well" and have resumed my "so called life," nobody mentions it anymore. I think that everyone assumes that I am well again, even though I still have not lost the 50 pounds I initially gained from medication and pain (I have 30 to go!).

    I have a few friends that I have made at school who know about this DD, and I can talk about it with them and they won't say anything; I don't think they know how to respond, but at least they seem to give me the benefit of not knowing how to deal with it either.

    I think that most "normals" expect us to know how to deal with this DD, but I don't know that there is a real answer to that question. I think the best thing to do with relationships is to find the ones that are fulfilling and pursue those. Don't worry about everything else; it's not worth the energy.

    Jess
  20. CFSpro

    CFSpro New Member

    Hi Shannon, I have the same problem you do and I don't think you are doing anything wrong. I am not well enough to visit people or be in the social scene. I can relate better to senior citizens because they are living life at a slower pace and have their share of health problems too. I think that middle-aged people like my self are so busy with work, kids, family, etc that they just don't take the time to connect with someone who is living a different lifestyle than they are. Some of it is selfishness and some of it is just that people are overscheduled as it is. I also find that people think they should fix me and find that offensive because I've tried a million things, know a lot about the DD and am always trying something new. I just want acceptance and friendship and I want to talk about something other than sickness. I call people for a distraction, I talk to others with the DD for support. The only people who call me on a regular basis are my boyfriend who also has the DD and a friend I've known for decades. Some times I try to make new friends but mostly I just give up as I am so exhausted with it all. I enjoyed reading your story and it really validated my experience. Thanks!