Saving Hope


Dear Dharma,

One my best friend’s from childhood was recently diagnosed with a serious, treatable illness. However, she refuses to get treatment for various reasons that I do not agree with whatsoever.

I have tried everything in my power to get her to consider getting treatment for this illness, as we are only in our late 50’s and still have a lot of life to live!  I can’t stand to lose my best friend when something could have been done to stop it.

How do I make her do this? I feel like she is being so selfish. Please help me!

Forceful Friend

Dear Forceful Friend,

A few things for you to consider as you approach this situation, with the main one being you can’t “make” anyone do anything.  You’ve heard the term “you can lead a horse to water…” which very much applies here.

Secondly – although you don’t list your friends various reasons for resisting treatment, I guarantee – guarantee! – the main one is fear.  And her fear isn’t yours to agree or disagree with.

Going for treatment is admittance that there is a problem.  And once you admit there’s a problem, well then, there’s a problem, it’s real.  And an illness is a scary thing to own.

So how about trying something different …  If you can become the person she feels safe talking to, as opposed to pressured by, you will likely cover more distance.   Tell her you understand what she is going through instead of telling her you don’t.  Make it about self-preservation rather than selfishness.

When someone feels understood rather than misunderstood the need to dig in lessens and they become more susceptible to possibility and change, right?

Start with small things instead jumping straight to the treatment and work your way there.  Can changes be made to diet or exercise in the mean time?  Things she finds manageable?

Just be patient.  As much as you care and want the best for her, realize she needs some time to adjust to this diagnosis.  Help her open up to this new status as opposed to helping her shut down.

Positive thoughts and good vibes her way…



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