Everyone needs human contact for comfort and security, and to feel involved and active in everyday life. For many of us, our friends provide that vital link.
However, friends drop away for many reasons.
We can be surprised by those who show up and those who fall by the wayside. Each of these people may view our friendship differently from the way we do. We expect from them that which may be beyond what they feel is appropriate or comfortable. It may even be that what we desire (or expect) may be too challenging for them. This is particularly the case when friends “cannot bear” to see someone in a diminished condition and would rather keep the person in their mind as they once were. They cannot tolerate seeing their friend in that present condition. Doing so may remind them of their own mortality or frailty.
Here are some tips for engaging friends in new ways:
Ask for what we need from those who can give in ways that are helpful.
Be open to other types of friendships that can grow out of connections within support groups, networks, online, and in person.
Avoid spending time blaming others for what they are incapable of offering.
Recognize what the person is able to do and what they cannot do; whatever those limitations are, we do not have to figure them out, just accept them and move forward.
Appreciate and engage with whatever there is.
Find alternative sources and resources to fill in the gaps so that we avoid a consistent feeling of disappointment in others.