Dear Dharma,

I need some direction. I’m going through a tough time as I’ve recently been diagnosed with a serious illness.

I’m trying to come to terms with the cards I’ve been dealt and thought my closest network would be there for me. Maybe I’m being too sensitive but shouldn’t I be entitled to be a little selfish right now?

The issue I’m facing is that after I let my closest network know my diagnosis, I haven’t heard from them… it’s just been crickets. I would have thought they would’ve offered to have coffee with me or maybe even spend time with me at appointments.

Should I reach out to them for comfort? How do I handle the quietness?

Scared and Confused

Dear Scared and Confused,

I’m so sorry to hear about your diagnosis and I hope you are doing everything you can to take care of yourself.

Often times, people simply don’t know what to say when someone is going through a rough time.  They don’t want to say the wrong thing, so they err on the side of caution and say nothing at all.  That may be exactly what your friends are doing right now, and figure that if you needed them, you’d reach out.

So reach out.  Communicate with your friends in the channels you’ve always used – telephone, email, whatever – and create the connections you need.  You’ve clearly got expectations as to what you want from your network, so tell them!  They aren’t mind readers, as much as you think they should know the exact right thing to do.  Again, people are often scared to do the wrong thing, so they turtle.

There’s nothing wrong with calling a friend and saying, “I’ve got a really scary appointment coming up next week and I was wondering if there was any way you could come with me… You know, just to keep me from going off the rails!”

And while, yes, you are entitled to be a little selfish right now, try to keep those feelings somewhat in check by talking with your friends about other things as well.   First of all, it will establish a sense of normalcy within your relationships, and secondly, a sense of normalcy might do you a world of good right now.

Strong and positive thoughts sent your way…



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