Posted by: Bontle | 2003/03/17


Dear Doctor

My friends haven't met or know each other.

On 13 November 2002, my brother started being ill. We didn't take it serously as it didn't look serious two weeks later he was admitted to the hospital, a week later he passed away. Everything happened so fast, nobody in the family was expecting the outcomes. We thought he was going to pull through as it wasn't the first time that a person in my family was suffering from that desease. We were all shattered and couldn't talk about it a lot amongst ourselves as the minute we started we cried, therefore we talked about it with our friends.

I needed a lot of support. Not just from my family members but from my friends as well. I have tried to be the kind of friend that was always there whenever days were dark for my friends. But the days were dark for me none pitched up. I go as far as travelling more than 1 000 km, just to be there for my friends.

Culturally Africans are warm people and if we have things like funerals we try our best to be there if not for the deceased but for the family.

One friend told me that she couldn't afford money for transport to come to my house. From where she is staying you only spend R7,00 to my house. I have spent more than R400-00 travelling to her house (When her 100 year old granny passed away) and affording to make my mother cross because I couldn't attend a family matter thinking I should be there for this friend.

One of the therse "so called" friends" phoned me the following week and asked me why I never informed her about the death of a colleague(who passed away, a week later) and I did not have anwers for her. I didn't feel like talking about it at all. I just wanted to talk about my brother.

Another friend told me she didn't hear, I left her thousands of messages and she acknowledged them. Other excuses I can not quote as I get cross when they were mentioned. The thing is, I feel that a funeral is not a party whereby you invite people. They have to come because they want to.

Since the Funeral in December I have felt cross with my friends and writing or talking to them abotu it has been more hurting than anythingelse. I feel like I can not forgive them. I feel betrayed. The trust that I always had in them was distroyed. I do not view them as friends anylonger but people who have been "using" me.

One friend was visiting on Saturday, from another funeral, of a person she has never met or known. She only went there because some of her friends said that they will meet her there. That has made me angrier.

I am such a demanding person but what I expect out of a friendship if what I put in. Therefore I thought that my "friends" viewed it in that light.

Please help, could it be that I am expecting too much from my "so called friends"?

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Our expert says:
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Dear Bontle,
Interesting question. I have been forming the view that we Africans have been getting a bit to smug about "ubuntu" --- bragging about it, rather than actually practising it. Ofr assuming that it means that everyone else will be there to help and support people in need --- so we, personally, don't need to do anything.
What you are describing suggests that these folks were what the English call "Fair-Weather Friends" --- the sort of people who are appy to lend you an umbrella, so long as it isn't actually raining. When the weather is fine, and you need nothing --- they're there for you. But when it's cold and there's thunder and lightning, then they have something else, something better, to do.
I don't think you have been expecting too much from these "friends" --- I think they have been expecting far too little of themselves.

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Our users say:
Posted by: sadeyes | 2003/03/18

Hi Bontle

DOnt worry about people that are insensitive and could not care less about you or the hurt you are going through. I had a best friend who I know since I was 5 yrs old I am now 23 and when my little sister passed away (she was 14 and I was 18) she came to the funeral and did not even speak to me - she just said hello did not even hug me and then she had to go because she was "in a hurry" this was someone I had shared everything with and when i needed her most she just was not there - yes it hurt like hell and yes I hated that she could be so insenstive and I became hard and callous ( my mistake) My advice : Never hold on to resentment, hurt or anger - it will destroy you inside and you will become a totally different person (that you will probably not like). Just hang in there because we go through allot of rotten apples (bad friends) before we meet some true real friends ( i would know I can count mine on one hand) but they are worth their weight in gold. And yes what you say about Ubuntu - it is true - there is no respect for that anymore. This is quite a terrible worls we live in but we make it what it is! My dear I hope that you mourn your brother in the right way so that he can rest in peace. I feel your pain. Try to be strong.

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