Social Question

cak's avatar

Did I handle this situation in a poor manner?

Asked by cak (15750 points ) March 9th, 2010

We found out that a friend is getting married. The conversation went on and some details slipped out that were directed at me. The woman getting married is someone I’ve known since college – she wanted to ask me to be in the wedding. Evidently, she decided not to ask me because, (her words)“What if she was no longer available.” For those of you that don’t know, I have cancer and am no longer actively being treated. My response was, “So she’s worried that I will kick the bucket before the nuptials?” There was the uneasy, “yes” and then I just cracked up. I told the person that relayed the information to me, “no worries” and to me, it was the end of the subject.

My husband told me later that I should have been more delicate, in this situation. I got a little offended. If I am the one with cancer, why do I have to tap dance around everyone else. He pointed out that not everyone has accepted what is going on and I need to continue to be mindful of that fact.—Okay, he might be right; however, it does get tiresome.”

Did I commit a friendship foul and should I readdress this, because I know it will get back to the bride-to-be.

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61 Answers

lilikoi's avatar

If I were the friend, I would not be offended at all but put at ease. But most people aren’t like me (not saying this just to make a point, I really do think I’m an oddball a lot of the time).

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Did you need more sensitivity??LOL!You handled it in an awesome way.It’s your life being talked about! People like you are a breath of fresh air!All the best to you:)

gemiwing's avatar

I think you handled it fine. It sounds like what you’re worried about is what the Bride-to-be will feel when she hears this. So either shoot her a note explaining you understand and appreciate being thought of, or wait until she brings it up.

Chongalicious's avatar

No one wants to accept that a friend is dying…it’s always surprisingly easier for the person actually in the situation to accept it. She’s just scared for you is all…you weren’t too harash or anything like that, I thought your humor in the situation was nice :)

But some ae sensitive so I guess just learn who can and cannot take a joke and you’ll be fine!

tinyfaery's avatar

No. Laugh it up, girl.

phillis's avatar

I loved your response. Nobody likes to face the prospect of mortality because it reminds them that they, too, will one day die. They don’t even like talking about life insurance, for heaven’s sake.

Your response was so similiar to what my own will likely be. THere IS an element of humor to it, like playing peek-a-boo! A ridiculous facade that says, “As long as I hide my eyes, it doesn’t exist!” Or, covering your ears with your hands, and going “la,la,la, la,la! I can’t hear yooooou!”

Let people be people, and keep doing what you did. Laugh all you want! I see dignity written all over your response. It makes me proud to have met you, even if only online :)

liminal's avatar

You were you, no fault in that. I agree with your husband that such a response can confront lack of acceptance, which can be a good thing, painful, but good.

wilma's avatar

You were not out of line.

escapedone7's avatar

No you did not handle it in a poor manner. You handled it amazingly well, better than I could have.

thriftymaid's avatar

I think you handled it fine—no worries for you!

Jeruba's avatar

For what it’s worth, I am sure I would have been as indelicate as you, if not more so. One of my governing principles is this: if it’s funny, I’m allowed to laugh. As far as I am concerned, you paid for that laugh, and you’re entitled to have it.

Not that I think we should go around rubbing people’s noses in our infirmities. I don’t want to hear about other people’s medical lives all the time, and I don’t want to talk constantly about mine. Most other subjects are more interesting. But it’s not as though you brought it up and were suggesting that you walk down the aisle hauling an IV stand or something. You gave a fair and honest response, and that’s all that should have been expected. Your husband is very kind to think of other people’s feelings, but not at the expense of yours.

dpworkin's avatar

I have heard much about you, but this is the first time I have had the privilege of meeting you. No wonder people love you so much. You are direct, funny, honest and accessible. You have nothing for which to apologize.

cak's avatar

Thank you, everyone! I’m not always known for thinking before I speak!

That could explain the constant case of my foot hanging out of my butt!

Arisztid's avatar

I think that you handled it marvelously.

escapedone7's avatar

I would be indelicate. I would RSVP on the invitation that I am coming dead or alive and my family has specific instructions in my will to insure it, so not to worry and set a place for me.

But I am indelicate! In fact I’m a snarky bitch.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

You handled it extremely well; I love it! Welcome back.

majorrich's avatar

I would RSVP with a caveat “unless I expire, in which case you can return the gift” I’m in the same boat as you cak Lurve

Jude's avatar

You handled it just fine, cak.

I think that you’re wonderful.

Buttonstc's avatar

Your husband is obviously a thoughtful and caring gentleman ( which I would assume is part of why you married him )

Your comment was obviously not one which HE would be comfortable making. But you aren’t him. Your answer was perfect for you and it’s refreshing to hear that kind of directness and sense of humor. Your candor is refreshing.

Absolutely perfect !

PacificToast's avatar

It think you are fine, to handle it this way was correct, because who really gives a care? Sensitivity is overrated, feelings can get hurt. But people get over it. Plus, you took it with humor.

Cruiser's avatar

Tell your husband you will be plenty “delicate” soon enough when you are done and gone until then show these knuckleheads what living life really means!

cak's avatar

This is why I like asking my fellow jellies questions! Thanks, again!

deni's avatar

What! I think you handled it the best way possible. That is hilarious. If you aren’t offended or upset by such an idea, then why on earth would she be upset by your lack of being offended/upset? Silly. Bravo.

janbb's avatar

Aw – you get a “Get out of jail” free pass on this one. It was fine to say.

chyna's avatar

@cak As always, your words were well placed, well said and brilliantly funny. I strive to be able to be as honest as you are.

pearls's avatar

I think you handled it beautifully.

Dog's avatar

Oh @cak- I <3 you! I just laughed for the first time all day and it was because of your grace and the way you handled that situation.

You rock! (yeah- I am going to answer that question next)

ubersiren's avatar

So good to see a post from you, @cak! xoxoxo

You’re allowed to have a sense of humor about your situation, totally. If someone was made uncomfortable, then that’s her problem. You don’t have to compromise. You weren’t rude and you didn’t act all offended and bitchy, which, is not something most people could’ve done. Making light of a sensitive subject is a good thing in my book. You’re like a little freaking ray of sunshine and nobody should be trying to rain on your parade.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

With the way you handled it, I hope you live forever.

jonsblond's avatar

You would not be cak without your honesty and sense of humor. This is why I fell in love with you. I’m sure your friend will understand. :)

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I think you handled it magnificently.

I can not imagine what it is like to be in your situation or to be in your husband’s position either.

You don’t have to dance around other people’s feelings, just live every moment as you see fit.

I wish I had the opportunity to get to know you sooner. You seem to have to love and respect of many other jellys, including some I respect greatly.

I wish you what you want for yourself.

aprilsimnel's avatar

You weren’t rude.

I imagine most people feel that folks with severe illnesses are “putting on a happy face” for everyone else and are upset most of the time, and their discomfort is part fear of the unknown surrounding such illness and fear of offending you about going on with their lives.

They’re adults. They need to learn to deal. I learnt, after living with someone with a terminal illness, that I live my life, yes, and to take my cues from them regarding if when and how they want to talk about what’s going on. Tiptoeing just shrouds a situation that needs to be out in the open. It’s is a part of life, like anything else.

I think how you handled it was fine.

susanc's avatar

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox
you rule
really really rule

Likeradar's avatar

Oh god Cak, you handled it better than most of us would have, I think.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

No, you’re not wrong at all. People should be more sensitive as should your husband. You are an inspiration to me.

babaji's avatar

it does feel that it went into the extreme,
but hey, if you feel good nothing can touch you,
and next time you meet, take control, while making that other person feel good about seeing you.
Cheers

IBERnineD's avatar

I would have acted the same way, except I would have said something a little more rude. I’m like that though. Good for you! Nothing wrong with it!

casheroo's avatar

I see nothing wrong with what you said or did. You did what most would want to do in that situation.

Supacase's avatar

You reacted perfectly!

No one would have felt better about it if you had become visibly upset instead of laughing. I imagine the bride-to-be and the person who let the cat out of the bag are relieved they didn’t offend or hurt you.

wundayatta's avatar

Tip toe, through the tulips, with me

Of course, so many people will be tip-toeing around you. Death is a very uncomfortable subject, especially when you are talking to the person who is staring it in the face. Yeah, I guess I’ll take my foot and stick it in my own mouth, too.

Humor, I think, is the best approach to acknowledging what people are fearful to acknowledge, and as everyone has said, Chris, you are an adept at that. God knows I’m a humorless sort, always being so serious about everything. If I recall correctly, you took notice of that trait of mine a time or two.

Still, what I really want to know is how the fuck do we talk about this? Do we talk at all? Do we ignore it? Do we crack uncomfortable jokes? What? Everyone cares deeply about you, Chris. Well, most everyone. Anyone who knows you.

Maybe that’s the important thing. Maybe it’s not a big deal to worry about—trying to figure out how to talk about it. Maybe what we really want is just an opportunity to tell you how much we care, and how much we have been affected by you, and that many of us, I’m sure, will think of you often, whether your’re here or not.

I’m glad you’re here now. I’m happy to see you post a question. I’m happy to be reminded of your spirit. I appreciate it very much. Thanks for spending some of your precious time here.

escapedone7's avatar

@wundayatta awwww. I am tearing up. You are such a sweet sweet guy! I am going to miss you when I get banned. I love how you validate others like that.

Gosh some of you are awesome beautiful people. The kindness and love shown in this thread is amazing. She’s amazing, but the responses are amazing too. Group hug!

augustlan's avatar

Cak, your reaction couldn’t have been more perfect, or more you. It’s a huge part of the reason we all love you so!

Jeruba's avatar

@escapedone7, what are you going to get banned for?

Leanne1986's avatar

I think that if you (or a friend in a similar situation) had reacted that way in front of me it would have put me at ease. No, I don’t think you handled it in poor manner at all.

cak's avatar

@wundayatta – Thank you.

Funny thing, death isn’t a huge subject for us. The kids, life, hanging with my mother and sister – yes, our relationship is much better now, those things dominate our life. Death comes up when I see the doctor, or when someone carefully treads around the subject. The appropriate time? When it’s mentioned. For me, I (believe it or not!) answer in a manner that is usually okay in any given situation. Humor around most friends, is okay. When I remind people that I refuse to live in mourning, I am living my life – as full as one can, they seem to understand it better.

I have moments where it aggravates me, I’m human. I write about it, sketch or grab the camera and start snapping photos. I’ve been banned from repainting anymore rooms, so I had to find other outlets. what is wrong with me repainting the living room 5 different times in a short period of time? Sheesh! I guess sometimes I do forget that even if I have accepted it – or have an uneasy willingness about the situation – then certainly, other should too. a bit selfish of me.

@everyone – thank you all for your responses and personal comments. I really appreciate everyone’s input and time.

Dog's avatar

@cak- please come to my house- ~you can visit Disneyland with your family and then help me repaint the living room. ;)

tinyfaery's avatar

Ooh. I’m in for Disneyland.

Dog's avatar

Dare we try for a Fluther Day at Disneyland?

tinyfaery's avatar

I am so there. Judy too, probably.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Cancer is no one’s friend but you and she are so the awkwardness should be forgiven.

cak's avatar

As long as someone will ride the teacups with me!

tinyfaery's avatar

Heck yeah. My wife refuses to go on the teacups.

Dog's avatar

@tinyfaery I will hang with your wife and watch. Teacups are my nemis

Jeruba's avatar

I’ve never been on the teacups, but if it isn’t worse than Space Mountain . . .

wilma's avatar

I would do the teacups, but only for you.

cak's avatar

@Jeruba lots of spinning…kinda fast. Like playing on the merry-go-round on the playground. The kind where one kid would run around spinning it and the others would hang on, or lay down.

@wilma – that’s so sweet!

janbb's avatar

@cak I can hold you pocketbook on the sidelines. I used to love the teacups and the whip, but I think I’d get dizzy and barf now.

RedPowerLady's avatar

Good to see you back! :)

augustlan's avatar

@RedPowerLady Good to see you back, as well. Congrats on the birth of that beautiful baby!

cak's avatar

@RedPowerLady – Thanks! The baby is gorgeous! Congratulations!! :)

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