One of the most common questions I get asked by parents of disabled kids is how do I make friends when you have CP (or other disability). The question has always puzzled me. I could ask able-bodied people the same question since I don’t have experience in that department.
I’m a big believer in quality over quantity when it comes to relationships.
I’m like this for a few reasons:
*My family is so big I have little head space for other people.
*I’m an introvert when it comes to friendships, too many and my brain just freezes up.
*When you have a disability you get a fair number of “pity friends,” that is people who want to be your friend because of the credit they get from it “you’re such a good friend” etc
*When you have a disability or other health issues people tend to run off when things aren’t the greatest and then come back as if nothing ever happened.
Recently Sarah put similar feelings into a tweet
Don’t waste a sick person’s time with a “how are you?” email & not follow up – that’s more painful than not hearing from anyone at all.
— Sarah (@srsly_sarah) April 9, 2015
So what do I do when people get hurtful and misunderstanding of my situation.
I let them go.
I used to get bothered when people would promise things and then not follow through. Through the years I’ve learned that not every friend is meant to be the type of friend to show up in your hospital room just to be there, even if you’re sleeping. Not every friend is meant to call the surgical waiting room from another country just to find out how things are going during a daylong surgery. Those types of friends are rare. Hold onto those friends, although it probably won’t be that big of an issue.
There are those well-meaning friends who promise they’ll call and/or stop by and then don’t. These are the friends who bother me the most, yet I still have some. Whenever they promise something I know they won’t follow through on I call them out on it, as nicely as possible. Most get upset for telling them to not bother because I know they’ll be too busy (and you think they’d want to prove me wrong) but they never follow through. If it wasn’t for those few shining moments of their friendships I’d kick them to the curb with the rest of them.
I don’t feel the need to say anything to anyone anymore about their actions. If they don’t realize the damage they’re causing to others than they’re not going to understand what you’re talking about when you bring it to their attention (and most will be offended which will only piss you off more).
Are their times when I want to say something? Of course, but I rarely do. It’s only caused me more stress and aggravation when I do (because people are stupid) and I have too much on my plate to have pointless arguments. I just the friendship fizzle out if it’s meant to.
Although there are times when I tell people to take a hike, and it works out for the best in the long run, whether people realize it or not.
I’m taking part in The Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge this month (also known as #HAWMC).