About well-meaning friends….

black and white photo of four high school girls in 1978
Me on the left my senior year of high school when I was fearless.

What to think when well-meaning friends tell you something you don’t want to hear, but they think they’re doing it for the best reasons.

This happened to me earlier this week. I was hurt. I cried. I called my daughter and she said my well-meaning friend was coming from a place of kindness. Her intentions were good.

Does that make it okay?

I’ve been mulling this over in my head all week. It’s made me feel angry, insecure, unsure about myself. Unsure about my friendship. It’s made me doubt myself.

I spent time with this friend for the first time of any length in about 15 years. Apparently she saw something in my demeanor or how I carried myself that caused her concern. She didn’t tell me in person, but texted me a day later. She told me to make an appointment with a neurologist. And she didn’t give me a clear idea why, just asked me to do it. I would have appreciated her diagnoses or a precise description of what she saw.

Of course, I’ve changed in the last 15 years. A couple years ago I had a ski accident. My knee has never been the same and although I walk, swim and cycle — I do so tentatively, with pain and instability. Menopause has left me fearful and with bouts of anxiety. Unlike I was prior to the days my friend and I hung out. This past COVID year has knocked the stuffing out of me, too. Am I rationalizing? Am I defending myself for not being the person I was years ago? Yes. I wonder how awful I must have looked or weird or who knows??? I think I just want to hide and cry some more.

Both my kids say her intentions come from concern and just go to the doctor and find out.

view from hike at Lake Pleasant AZ
Hiking in my new state of Arizona at Lake Pleasant.

What are your thoughts of well-meaning friends telling you what you don’t want to hear?

33 thoughts on “About well-meaning friends….

  1. So that’s a bit weird.. I mean there’s “I think the left side of your face is drooping” kind of concern and then there’s the “What do you mean, you voted for that guy?” concern.. These days it seems everyone is diagnosing everyone else with some sort of illness.. again, it’s weird.

    • It’s weird and it’s hurtful. Although maybe well-intentioned? I think it’s normal aging plus my ski accident….but I wish she could have given me more details?

      • I wouldn’t like it if someone I hadn’t seen in a while, and wouldn’t see again for a while, swooped in and gave me their “impression” of how I was “doing.” Now if I’ve got a huge lipoma on the back of my neck that both me and my husband have somehow been missing for years..go ahead and tell me to go see Dr. Pimple Popper. But otherwise..if it’s about my wrinkles, or my attitude or my waistline or my swollen foot.. shhh.

      • I know! The impression I got was I wasn’t steady on my feet and tentative. Well my new ACL doesn’t work right. I’m wearing bifocals. And I have a painful bone spur on the bottom of my big toe. I’m not the same!

      • None of us are..my goodness. The vague inference that would have (sorry) pissed me off is that I’m looking or acting so old that I should go “see someone” you know, to rule out Parkinson’s or something. Heck, I nod my head like a bobble head doll because of my bifocals..does that mean I should go to a neurologist..just in case? I’m sure she’s a nice person and all, but people who blow into town with advice and concerns (my sister..haha!) and then blow on out again..I just nod my head, smile and ignore.. OH NO!!..WAIT!!!…there’s that head nodding again!! 😂

      • You got it exactly how I feel. But now I keep doubting myself. There’s that little thought planted in my brain that something’s not right.

  2. Hmmmm. I don’t like people to butt in. However, I have a few friends in my life that I freely allow to tell me their true feelings on things. These are my very closest friends who have known me for years and who I talk to on an almost daily basis. Outside of this…I’m not real open. However, I always think about Tarek from Flip or Flop. Someone watched the show and thought they spotted something and it turned out Tarek had thyroid cancer. So, I would be annoyed that the person butted in without giving you a reason why. I totally understand your feelings on this though

  3. Well, I think it is caring of her to notice and tell you. On the other hand, if she told you “Your husband has a wandering eye” and confides she feels as if he will leave you or is a terrorist in disguise, my understanding might not be she is caring. Although she might be right, we don’t always appreciate hearing these things. I would go see a doctor if you have fears.

  4. I guess I have some questions. First, does this friend know you have anxiety? If they do, then that is shitty of them to be vague. (I’m not one to mince words because I also have anxiety).
    I see where they are coming from-concern. They are a friend from the past, so maybe they feel like they aren’t as close to you, so they can’t say what they truly feel? This was the only way they felt comfortable telling you anything? I think we are all on edge because of COVID and the year we’ve just experienced but she should have been direct. Because if she has the balls to say what she said, the least she could do is tell you EXACTLY what she is seeing that is troubling her in the first place.

    I’m sorry you are going through this. I know it has to be nerve-wracking. Did you make an appointment?

    • Thank you for your supportive comment. I was really taken for a loop. It bothered me all week long. No, I don’t think this friend knows I have anxiety. I agree I wanted to know exactly what she saw. I pressed her via text and the most I got was that I have trouble with balance and I seemed nervous. I have had trouble with balance since knee surgery three years ago. And I am a very nervous person. The anxiety doesn’t help!

  5. In my opinion, she was being kind of rude. Especially if she refuses to give you more details for why she feels you should see a doctor. Firstly, you shouldn’t be diagnosing people like that and secondly if you feel the need to do so you need to communicate with them and let them know why you came to that conclusion. I would have also been extremely hurt by this so I’m not surprised that it hurt your feelings. I think some people just don’t want to see others change and grow but we can’t all stay the same especially for 15 years. Sorry you went through this but don’t take what she said too seriously.

  6. I think she should have at least told you what she saw, and should have made an introduction before telling you. Like she should have asked “I have a recommendation and it’s coming out of love but I don’t want you to take it the wrong way. Is it okay if I state my concern?”

    • Thank you. I talked with my best friend from college about it. I stayed with her when I visited my mom in May. I asked her if she noticed anything different or off about me. She said I’m the same but I have my normal quirks.

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