Real friends

Living with Multiple Sclerosis will weed people out of your life

One thing Multiple Sclerosis has done for me is weed out the people in my life that were only there for the ride, not the journey. So many times people proudly boast about the great numbers of people they know and pat themselves on the back because they have a sea of people surrounding them, but are those people really friends? I can almost guarantee you that a majority of them are what I would consider fair-weather friends.

I’ve noticed that people seem to be great at hanging around when they are getting some type of reward or kick-back for being your friend. You know, the free food, tickets, perks, support that you are able to send their way. But when those things dry up and you become the one in need of their continued help, they suddenly have other things more important to do.

Life has taught me a few things—I guess you could say the hard way—about people. I have learned what true friendship is…and is not.

A friend is not…

  • the long list of people in your High School year book.
  • the person who friended you on Facebook, followed you on Twitter or added you on Instagram.
  • someone who attended your birthday party, lives in the house next door or says hello to you in passing at the office.
  • the person who gives you a piece of gum or hangs out with you at the mall.
  • someone who waves at you from across the room, bags your groceries or invites you to their wedding.

A friend is…

  • someone who is willing to go grocery shopping with you on the coldest, rainiest day of the year and allows you to change your mind ten times about which kind of cheese you want for sandwiches.
  • someone who puts up with your moodiness, hangs in there through the tears and listens when there’s nothing left to say.
  • someone you can call up at 3 o’clock in the morning to take you to the emergency room or help you with a flat tire on the side of the road.
  • someone who holds your hand when you get a bad doctor’s report and who never judges you when you have a melt down.
  • someone who genuinely wants to know how you’re doing, who goes out of their way to make you feel comfortable and who never walks away.

A friend isn’t the person who says they are your friend…they prove it every single day by the things that they do.

Hang on to those true-blue friends. You won’t have many…maybe one or two, but they are worth their weight in gold. Be sure to appreciate them and tell them how amazing they are. They need to hear it even if they say they don’t.

Take some time today to give them a call, send them an email or even a little surprise in the mail. Never take someone for granted who is willing to stand with you through a chronic illness and everything that comes along with it.

Living with Multiple Sclerosis will weed out the people in your life that shouldn’t be there, but in the end you will be left with the beautiful roses, orchids and daisies. Treasure the people that treasure you and never let them go!

As Oprah Winfrey once said, “Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”

MS Gets on My NervesMS WarriorMS Superhero  

About the Author
About the Author
Penelope Conway

Penelope Conway
Penelope started Positive Living with MS as a way to help others with MS stay positive in the midst of a terrible disease. She believes that staying positive and holding onto hope is the key to waking up each morning with the strength to get through the day. Multiple Sclerosis may never go away, but neither will her determination and her drive to help others through the journey.

75 replies
  1. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    That’s one of the good sides of MS. It sorts out who really cares an those who don’t want to know. I have a few friends an one of them came around an cleaned our dining room for two hours yesterday. Now that is a friendly thing to do. It came unexpectedly but was nice to see.
    There are also some more at mainly music with the young ones showing how they can accept me as I am.I know they can’t achieve much but they can show true love easily
    I have had many ‘friends’ but many have gone now for what ever the reason, but every time a new job or activity came along I made new different ones that filled a time for me.They weren’t permanent but are still in my memories an that’s all I want them to be now.

  2. Kendra Drake says:

    So true! I wrote this a week ago. Because friends and family alike don’t seem to understand:

    If Only

    I know life gets in the way, career, family, school and obligations. I was once there myself. I had the career, friends, family, health, and energy. I would drop everything for those I love. I use to be vibrant with a sparkle in my eye.

    But now I am ill. My illness has taken so much away from me. My career, my health, my energy and my illness has pushed away those I loved the most. My body and mind are failing me. My illness has changed me. I no longer see the person I once was. My sparkle is dimming.

    Yet if only you knew how I struggle each and every day with walking, talking, memory, cognition, muscle spasms, muscle weakness, tremors, neuropathy, atrophy, fatigue, heat/cold intolerance, numbness of my face/hands/feet, and spasticity. Would it change anything?

    If only ~ you picked up the phone or messaged me to ask “how are you feeling” or “how are doing today” or “do you need anything” or “I am thinking of you and I love you and miss you”

    If only ~ you understood that I tire easily and I wish I could keep up like I use too.

    If only ~ you knew it hurts me, that you no longer invite me or make plans with me. Please don’t stop asking me. Please understand that I will always try and be there. But if I don’t make it, know it’s not you, it’s my body.

    If only ~ you knew how embarrassing it is that I can no longer afford to go to lunch or meet for coffee or buy the things I need. Let alone buy birthday cards or birthday and Christmas presents. I don’t want to be a charity case.

    If only ~ you knew how hard it is to ask for help. It crushes my pride.

    If only ~ you knew how much I miss dancing and being the life of the party.

    If only ~ you would come and sit with me or watch movies or talk over a glass of wine.

    If only ~ you would drop what you were doing to be at my side, as I have done countless times.

    If only ~ you understood that I may be strong and I put up a good front, but at times I am the loneliest person, because I am going through this alone, without you by my side.

    If only ~ you knew how hard it is to get up each day, when all I want to do is give up and give in. But, I don’t because I could never hurt you.

    If only ~ you knew how much I miss ME. The person I was before my illness.

    For those of you that have been by myside through the good and the bad, thank you. Thank you for your weekly phone calls or messages checking in with me. Thank you for the peep talks and helping me put things into perspective. Thank you, for your shoulder to cry on or your shoulder to lean on. But most importantly thank you for being present.

    For those of you that have chosen to walk away or push me aside; as though I’m out of sight out of mind. My heart hurts, but I forgive you. Thank you for the beautiful memories. I shall hold on tight to them and send you away with pure love and light.

    Kendra Drake 7/9/2016

  3. Karen O'Connor says:

    My best friend of over 20 years. I could no longer “do” the holidays the way we always had. Invitations to various celebrations and gatherings became less and less frequent, while the time we did spent together was more and more awkward. After being basically ignored at the last get-together I was able to attend I realized I was expendable, like an accessory that had gone out of style.

    • Gail Campbell Brown says:

      I feel exactly the same Karen, my last get together with ‘friends’ I was ignored except by 1…. As I don’t drink alcohol to stupid levels or throw myself about dancing, nor am I available to just jump in the car & take one particular one out for shopping or go where she wants when she wants. I’m done with it. I have my own little family & my 35 year friendship with 1 friend plus my sister, that’s all I need 🙂. Take care. Gail

  4. Tania Padilla says:

    Here I found the support I needed…..I Am God thankful that I found you…..everyday you all give me the strength to go on. Yes…..many have walked away…..and others are incredible by my side

  5. Ginger Grobe-Herbert says:

    Being 70 yrs old with RRMS, most of the time I don’t look sick. The truth is, some days, just to walk around my small apt wears me out! What most people don’t understand that we cannot push thru the overwhelming fatigue. When it had me in its grasp, my body feels like it’s made of noodles and just to hold it upright to do anything hurts! I realize I don’t have it nearly as bad as most MSers. But add that to all my other diagnosis, and I often feel like crap but people think I’m giving in to aging. Thanks for letting me vent!

    • Juana Driver says:

      Thank you for your openness! I too don’t look “sick” with 33 yrs living with MS. Most of the comments are “me too” , it’s just growing old symptoms. Not worth sharing how I feel for they are always feeling worse. True friends, causal friends hummmm. ……
      Thanks for listening and Penelope thanks for letting us learn from our MS community! ♡

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      IF you are ‘lucky’ and I hate that word or are so lucky.. drives me nuts..sometimes the people you least expect can do something nice…the ones you ‘assume’ or ‘hope’ will actually ‘do’ something don’t. I find I get overwhelmed in despair when I am ‘let down’, leaving me so so ‘alone’. People do not reverse the situation, nor will they ever understand… or they say ‘that’s just like me’ which also drives me nuts as it is no where near ‘just like them’! as you know. Like at a funeral when someone says ‘if there is ever anything I can do’…..well of coarse there is you fool so just ‘do it’! Drop off a meal, call me, come over for a chat…offer to go out for coffee, cut my lawn ‘DO’ something…. Actions speak a louder than words.

      So..I ‘am’ doing something…saying Hello, I understand to ‘you’ I also have a long long list of medical issues dating back to age 25, now 57 with RRMS. I have never felt more alone, that hole finds me every day, no matter how ‘busy’ you try to occupy your mind, I’m still in that worrisome hole of darkness and uncertainties for the future with next to ‘no’ one for support. So I will think of you today and try and do one thing for ‘you’ today that puts a wee smile on your face. Hugs for support Maria…. Jill from Oshawa…

  6. Alyce Webster says:

    My fiance walked a couple of weeks ago… not long after dx…. didn’t want someone that sleeps so much or the financial responsibility that comes with a long term illness

  7. Kathy Hamilton Doiron says:

    I know I’m usually the one who says something comic, but perhaps not at this moment. Monday, the depression took over… meds didn’t help… and I just bowed out of a dinner with friends at the last minute, as I didn’t think I could deal with people. I’m so very blessed to have this small group of sister friends who have taken the time to understand MS, depression, and depression WITH MS. Knowing that someone else understands that we’re not being attention seekers, lazy, etc, is often the only support we need at that very moment.

    • Avery Bennett says:

      Kathy you’re so right about being with the non ms friends and loved ones just need an emotional time out and reach out to others who shares the same horrible disabling ms symptoms none ever good just we adapt grow stronger and need each other we will do better I hope you have many more comfortable moments of relief

    • Kathy Hamilton Doiron says:

      Thank you, Avery. Penelope and this group is a true gift. Monday was miserable, but Tuesday I got on a Harley (bucket list item) with a stranger and collected rocks at the beach. This morning, one leg was covered with bruises, but I don’t know how I got them. I am learning not to push myself beyond the limits of fatigue, but I’ve also learned that those precious moments or hours of being pretty comfortable need to be used to grab life by the horns. 🙂 Besides, the Harley photos totally freaked out my bossy sisters!

  8. Leah
    Leah says:

    So true. I’m very lucky to have my husband who I love dearly and consider to be my best friend. I also have two very special, genuine, and dependable friends who I can count on in my times of need.
    They have been there for me when others I thought I could depend on…weren’t. Thank you for making me reflect upon this this morning.:)

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