My Thoughts: Friendship

PhotobucketI have always been one to keep a few close friends in my life rather then surround myself in a huge social crowd. It’s been hard for me lately not because MS has destroyed my friendships but because MS has allowed me to see people more clearly, to see them for who they really are, to “see their true colors” and unfortunately, I have not liked what I have seen so far… This has led to several of my good friendships falling apart.

Every incident has been different in it’s own ways but fundamentally, when you break each situation down, all my friendships have ended for the same basic reason. I have been let down in some way shape or form as a friend. I have always gone above and beyond for my close friends, the people I care about, and the people I love. I have always put them all before myself, and truly tried to be there for them how ever I could. I slowly began to realize in the last few months that none of my friends were really willing to do the same for me. I’m not going to bring up any particular incidents because I am not trying to put anyone on the spot or bring my personal affairs into the matter but I can truly say that I have busted my ass for several of my friends who in return couldn’t even show a little effort in trying to be there for me.

I try my best not to hold grudges but sometimes resentment is hard to shed, sometimes it’s hard to forget the past and not be bitter. I don’t let it anger me anymore because that is a waste of my emotional resources but to be bitter doesn’t really take a toll on my emotional well being. Though I guess you could argue that this has caused me to grow cold and I know it, I can feel it, but I can’t help it. Why should I care for those who have proven to not truly care for me? For those who have found it so easy to just walk away?

I have just a couple true friends left who I know are genuine but at this point I feel no desire to reconstruct old friendships because I don’t know if I believe that people ever really change. It would take a lot for someone to prove to me they have changed, that they want to truly be my friend, but at this point, “sorry” won’t do. “Sorry” has lost all it’s value to me. Anyone can say it but not everyone can mean it let alone prove that they mean it.

When writing on my blog I try my best to maintain a positive attitude but I can’t hide the fact that at this point in my life, I have a very grim view of humanity and it’s not because of my MS. MS might have aided some of my negative views on humanity but for the most part it’s my life experiences and social experiences that have lead me to think the way I think and feel the way I feel. Knowledge is power but knowledge can also be a painful burden. Maybe I have just yet to mature enough to know how to properly process and handle the knowledge I have obtained, I don’t know, I just know that I am growing cold and calloused and I have no idea what it will take to change that or how long it will take for that to happen.

“Ignorance is Bliss”

A true statement indeed, but ignorance is just the path of least resistance, the easy way out, and knowing myself and my pride, I know that I can’t take that route in life. I’ll eventually have to learn to deal with knowledge, reality, the world, humanity, people, all of it. I’m not taking the easy way out, I will endure and I will overcome.

18 Responses to My Thoughts: Friendship

  1. Karen says:

    Many of us with MS (or other chronic illnesses), find out who are true friends are Matt. And many of us have lost more than a few so called friends. It's difficult at any age to lose friends, and faith in humanity.

    Look for the positives, let go of the negatives, and know that there will be plenty of both in your future. What will make the biggest difference in your life, will be how you chose to react to those negatives. It's up to you.

  2. Sherri says:

    i have always been a sort of recluse… by choice… i have a few people in my life that i call friends, others are acquaintances, or people i know…

    when my friends found out about my MS… it was shocking to them, they didn't know what to say or do or how to respond to me… and some kind of disappeared, but only for a few months or so. once they came to terms with it, they were back…

    i don't think they abandoned me or loved me less…i think this was something they had to figure out, absorb and come to terms with… they had to deal with their own grief about it… and once they figured it out… came to terms with it….then they were ready to be in my life again…

    i don't hold any of that against them. sure it would have been nice to have their support in the beginning months because that's when emotionally i was a wreck and needed all the pillars i could find… but… they had to deal with it to…

    one friend said she didn't want to go through that process in a way that i could see…they thought their weakness would be bring me down…

  3. Matt Allen G says:

    Thats what I was initially worried about so while I was sick in bed I didn't let anyone see me because I didn't want the reality of MS to hit them and scare them away.

    I have lost most of my friend for reasons other then MS, but if it wasn't for MS I would still be ignorant of my "friends" true colors.

  4. Jodi says:

    I agree that you really do find out who your true friends are and hopefully it just makes you appreciate them even more. I know I do!

  5. Matt Allen G says:

    You know, now that I think about it, I feel more

    R E S P E C T

    then anything else but appreciation is definitely in there haha.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I could have written the same exact thing – I am going through some similar things right now. I am trying to change things – and I hope it works.
    –Kristin

  7. Matt Allen G says:

    KRISTEN, SORRY FOR THE LATE RESPONSE, I AM BASICALLY BLIND RIGHT NOW. I WILL POST ABOUT MY RECENT RELAPSE SOON ITS JUST REALLY HARD TO SEE. BUT THE FRIENDSHIP THING IS TOUGH, MY THOUGHTS ARE ALWAYS EVOLVING ABOUT FRIENDSHIP EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE…. WISHING YOU LUCK AND IF YOU EVER WANT TO TALK FEEL FREE TO HIT ME UP. -MATT

  8. Kjo says:

    Hey Matt –I have had MS for almost 24 years, I was d'xed at 19, so that's more than half of my life now. I also have brown hair. So what to both of those things. The good thing is, it does not kill us. It just changes the way we live.

    Don't give up on friends. I lost many at the beginning, but now that I am old (in my 40s) I have better friends than I have ever had. They are true friends.

    The way I think about it is that as my life with MS progresses, my friends also progress in their own maturity. Your MS might be teaching your friends HOW to be friends. Don't give up on them or you.

    *Kendra

    Stay strong. You might teach THEM something!!

  9. Matt Allen G says:

    I know what your saying but knowing doesnt make feeling any easier. it's tough as you well know/

  10. Kjo says:

    Yes it can be tough. It IS tough at times, but what a waste of our precious MS energy.

    Think of yourself as a pioneer of sorts. We don't know where we're going but if we look beyond our circumstances we might see something we like?!? (and if we don't see something we like, well, we're adults and we do not have to do that again.) *Kendra

  11. Anonymous says:

    Friendship is not about putting other people first or treating others like you would want to be treated. It's about compassion, true understanding, love, and treating others how THEY wish to be treated. It has nothing to do with MS unless you are making that their burden to bear.

  12. Matt Allen G says:

    Haha pioneers. I like that.

    But no one said it was about MS, MS just shows you how much your friends are willing to be there for you and since I know what I would do for a friend when they are in some sort of need it makes it that much more difficult to see them bail on me during my time of need.

  13. Kjo says:

    Hi Matt……Please do not waste your time lamenting a friendship loss.

    You're a talented photographer, focus on that.

    In my 24+ years with MS, I have been to 11 countries, been to 3 universities and graduated (I had to listen to my textbooks on tape), I've gotten married, had a child, now I'm a Gma…

    My point is, it doesn't matter that the docs say I have MS, what matters is, I am still living my life. None of this is going the way I planned, but that's just it. I shouldn't plan
    anything, because God has it under control.
    He will get me through this.

    Don't get me wrong, I do hate this and this can be hard!! I lost most of my eyesight when I was 19 and have never seen my daughter's entire face (I could take no meds because I was pregnant), but I will get to see her in heaven I'll have my new heavenly body, which I know will be perfect, (that means healthy, coordinated, and seeing)!!

    I don't mean for this to sound cold, but friends do come and go as you get older, just like the tide.

    I rarely talk to my friends from college and never talk to my friends from hs, but I can always talk to God. Life is rough but there are always others who have it worse. God is with them too. He won't take this away, but He will get us through this!!

    For those of your friends that have abandoned you in your time of need, aren't you glad they did it now, rather than later?

    *Kendra

    Who knows what tomorrow holds in this life?

    Have fun living Matt. I never got to have a career, basically I went to college for nothing. Enjoy your work even if you have to take a different kind of photo than you used to, just be happy.

    (Let me know if you want any info about MS meds in asia.) *Kendra

  14. Matt Allen G says:

    Haha thanks, I see your point.

  15. amanda says:

    I know this is an older post, but I just saw this and SWEAR i was thinking the SAME things… Maybe it is because it is a new year and it is time to change, or maybe because I have two kids 15 months and 3 months and some of my "friends" havent even seen them yet, or because I am changing my health this year and it made me once again have my "I have MS grieving day" or all of the above. I just posted this on my facebook page yesterday thinking the same thing- "Friendship isn't about who you have known the longest, but who came and never left your side." So true!! Are you a scorpio?? I swear I read my thoughts on your blog!!! SO glad I found your blog today, but all I have been doing is reading it while my kids have napped!! Take care and happy New Year!

  16. Matt Allen G says:

    Nope! I am a Gemeni and I am not included in the signs you are supposed to get along with most, but guess what, we both have MS and that is a different kind of connection all together.

    Anyways, I still think about this concept all the time. I just eliminated one of my oldest friends from my life because he was not really a true friend, he was just some guy I knew. My closest friends I have only known for half the time I knew him. They are there for me and always looking after me so they are my true friends.

    It's good that you are thinking about it, it will save you pain in the long run. I am still learning this path myself so I can't give you clear directions but what is important is that you are aware of this idea, that is all that matters because now you have the ability to learn rather then stay put in life.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I have a friend that was recently diagnosed with MS. She has always been very driven, and is far more optimistic about her diagnosis than I would be if it were me (I mean that with humble respect for her ability to see the positive).

    I do not want to be one of the friends that falls to the wayside. I want to let her know that I am there for her in whatever way she needs me. I've already told her this, and we have a fairly open communication about her condition.

    As a friend, what else can I do to help her? I don't mean physically (although I would be happy to, if she needed me). I mean…how can I be a good friend to her? I want her to feel free to talk about her disease, and how her life is changing. But, when she does…what do I say? I want her to know that I care about her, but I don't want her to feel like I pity her.

  18. Matt Allen G says:

    I envy her, I wish I had that (friendship).

    What do you say? I don't know? Sometimes you just need to listen and tell her it will be ok, but mean it, dont be a broken record.

    When she tells you how she is feeling, BELIEVE her, even if you dont understand. We don't always know how to put things into words, even me, it's hard.

    Just, be, GENUINE.

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