Question: Dear Luise: I have a friend that has been pretty special to me over the last forty years. We were young, working wives when we met. We got together away from work and our husbands got along. The years have brought us both a lot of good and bad. Both of our husbands have passed on and we are now in our late seventies. We talk on the phone and go out to lunch once a month…but I am getting to where I can hardly stand it. She has a lot of serious medical problems and so do her six, closest friends. Every call and visit is a rundown of every ailment of each and every person. It’s getting so I dread contact. The time just drags. It’s awful! Help! Tina R.
Answer: Dear Tina: I get the message between the lines that you love your friend a lot. I think you would have gone your separate way some time back if that weren’t the case. It’s also obvious to me that you don’t see life as she does.
Please know that she has decided how she is going to be. You can’t stop her or redirect her. From her own personal and specific background she is choosing what she thinks she needs to focus on, which is obviously her own medical situation and that of her six dear friends.
See that you are dear to her, as well. Therefore she imparts her concerns to you when you call or get together. I would suggest you just steel yourself to listen as best you can and concentrate on how long you’ve been friends and what you’ve gone through together. Make allowances, huge allowances, which is probably what you’ve been doing for some time.
Sometimes attitudes and behaviors deteriorate as the years go by and have to be tolerated for old times sake. Be compassionate. Get in touch with your own way of dealing with aging and feel grateful that you have not seen fit to take a similar path. We are all unique and some of us get stronger role models and genes than others. Whatever it is that offers you peace and joy, prize it. You are one of the lucky ones. Blessings, Luise