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Dear Wendy

Dad skin cancer diagnosis, but best friend not being supportive. What do I do?

Home Forums Get Advice, Give Advice Dad skin cancer diagnosis, but best friend not being supportive. What do I do?

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  • #962131 Reply

    Advice please:

    I’m really upset, a few days ago I told my “best friend” that my dad has skin cancer and it’s at stage 2. I was pretty upset and so worried, still am. She said some kind of reassuring words but it was a bit odd. I asked if I could call her. She said she was busy. She isn’t working just now, doesn’t have a lot of commitments. This has been 5 days and no call. She calls me all the time about minuscule issues at 3am and I always pick up because she worries about a lot so I would rather she talked than bottle things up. She hasn’t even bothered to check if I’m ok or ask how my family are doing with it all.
    What should I do? Is she a rubbish friend?

    #962133 Reply

    Some people are very uncomfortable with illness, don’t know what to say, are afraid to say the wrong thing. I wouldn’t rely on her for support, do seek other friends or relatives for encouragement and companionship during your father’s treatment (I am very sorry!). She seems also to be used to have you as her emotional pillow, so the reversal is awkward for her. She seems a bit self-centered or immature.
    At least, you don’t receive any more calls for nothingnesses at 3 am. But don’t judge her too much, don’t focus on her, she is not important right now. Seek the support where you can find it, think of you, your own needs. If you feel overwhelmed, you could also speak to a therapist.

    #962136 Reply

    Your friendship seems very one sided. She wants you to give her emotional support at the drop of a hat, in the middle of the night but can’t give you support in return. Someone who needs constant attention and support often is not willing or able to offer the same.

    You should not be answering calls that late. It’s bizarre to be on call for her minuscule issues. Have you ever set a boundary with her and told her not to call you that late unless it’s an emergency?

    To me, yes- she does sound like an overly needy, probably manipulative, rubbish friend.

    #962139 Reply

    “Is she a rubbish friend?”


    #962144 Reply

    Some people just can not handle news of any serious illness. But that is their problem. This “friendship” has been one sided. Stop answering the phone from her. No more 3am calls. Look elsewhere for support.

    #962159 Reply

    First of all, I’m so sorry about your Dad. It’s a scary time for you and for him too, I imagine. And your friend isn’t being as supportive as you would like. I actually ended a long-standing friendship with someone who cried to me all the time about every hiccup in her personal and live life yet never even asked how I was doing. She was single, with her own place and decent money while I was struggling with two kids, a rocky marriage, full time work And school and starting a business. But sure, I was there for her until I just couldn’t any more. And she’s resented me ever since. Sometimes your own mental health is worth more than a friendship – even a long term friendship.

    The other thing I’d like to share with you is that while skin cancer is bad, your father’s is stage 2 which is Far better than it could be. I’d encourage you to read up on the latest research (internet cancer statistics are largely out of date!) and perhaps join a group like the American Cancer Society’s online forum to get support and find answers to your questions. I’m a stage 4 ovarian cancer warrior (chemo for life at this point – no more remissions for me) and it’s been almost 7 years since my initial diagnosis. I’m happy to talk with you and help in any way I can even tho skin cancer isn’t my area of knowledge. Just know that with surgery and/or treatments, your father’s outlook is hopeful. I’m not sure the same is true of your friendship.

    Please try not to worry too much about your Dad. If he’s agreeable and you’re in the same locale, perhaps you could go to his next doctor visit with him and ask questions too. It might ease your mind. Please know I will be thinking of you and your Dad and reach out if I can help. I’m on as kalindria.

    #962160 Reply

    I had Stage 0 melanoma (meaning, large extraction and then monitoring every 3 months for a year or so, now back to 6 months). Each level up definitely includes MORE, but caught early (stage 2 is still considered early) and they can do a lot. Besides the removal process, they may test his lymph nodes. The stages indicate the spread and depth into the skin layer the cancer may be.

    Beyond that, it still IS a scary thing. Especially since, hey, this is your dad and skin cancer is one of those everything is fine until it’s really not. I’m very sorry your family is going through this and your friend really should offer more. Cut back your interactions with her.. reach out to the melanoma groups…spend time with your dad/other family

    #962167 Reply

    I had stage 1B. I’m so sorry about your dad – but the good news is his has not spread even into the lymphnodes closest to the cancer and his survival rate at this point is about 99%. It’s super scary, and he’ll need gnarly surgery to remove a wide birth of tissue if he hasn’t already. But you have every reason to think your dad will be ok and around for a long time.

    As for your friend, that sucks. Is she usually selfish? Is your friendship mostly one sided? Or is this an unusual reaction from someone who is generally caring and compassionate? If shes normally selfish then it’s time to start pulling away from the friendship and finding others to rely on. If she’s normally very caring, have a conversation where you tell her calmly that her ghosting at a time where you really need her hurts. Tell her what you need – calls, check ins, questions, words of comfort, whatever. Be clear so she knows how to be there for you. Hopefully she’ll Apologize and prove she can do better. But if not, again, spend time making other friends who support you just as much as you support them.

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