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Friend won't let me help!

Alex wrote:

My friend came down with an illness about 3 years ago.

Before the illness, she was a vibrant young lady. She had very high goals for herself, and she was a very interesting person. She was very intelligent, creative, and pretty. She was willing to try new things, travel, meet new people, the works.

With the rare exception of that she found ways to get out of doing things she absolutely didn't want to do, no matter what!

When she came down with the illness, she quit her job, and her plans of going to college. She's lost most of her friends, and is about to lose me.

This is because she refuses to talk to anyone about what is going on and is so negative lately. She claims she is on the verge of death, but her symptoms seem to disappear and reappear, or change, on command. She's seen several specialists, and had a few surgeries.

But all to no avail, according to her. She claims that none of them have a clue of what is wrong with her, which is very unusual. Her illness seems to be benefitting her in that she still lives with her immediate family despite being an adult, she doesn't work, she doesn't go to school, and she doesn't socialize.

She is nearly 26 and has never had a boyfriend, despite her repeated voiced desires to get a boyfriend, to get married, and have a husband and kids.

I recently heard about a psychological disorder through a doctor called a somatoform disorder. The medical explanation of this disorder sounds alot like my friend. I find it strange that none of the doctors would have hinted at this possibility to her.

But after all she does get enraged at the suggestion of seeing a counselor or psychiatrist. I would like to support my friend, and help her to get over this illness. I would like to help her hopefully move on with her life, since she is so young.

And if possible, I'd like to help her to obtain a boyfriend, and help her to learn how to engage in such a relationship.

I care about her very much and this hurts me to think that she is suffering from such emotional, and possibly physical distress.

Dear Alex

You need to be sure how much of your concern is friendship, and how much is resentment about being excluded. Don't misunderstand me; I believe you care - but it's clear that you don't believe her, and you must remember that ultimately it's her life, not yours.

You may be right about her problems - but then again, you may be quite wrong.

As a true friend, rather than put pressure on her, you should surely just let her know that you are there when she needs you; and there's no hurry. If you get on with her family that's great; but just maintain that contact - she might not want your help now - and there may be a reason for that - but she might need you soon. Be patient. Be a friend.

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30 November 2016  |     |  Contact