Social Question

mazingerz88's avatar

Would you end your friendship with someone if this happens?

Asked by mazingerz88 (28586points) 2 months ago from iPhone

Your friend got sick and is now unable to communicate with you or worse unable to remember who you are. This friend is wheelchair bound and attending social gatherings entails too much work so if you wish to see him or her you would have to do the visiting yourself. Would you still see your friend even though you think it’s pointless to do so?

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16 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

This is a very tragic scenario, and I pray it’s fictional. If this is actual, you have my sympathies.

I would continue the friendship at a reduced amount of meetings. I can imagine seeing such a friend once a month or once a quarter. I would go to such meetings with a planned idea of what i would talk about. I would also take pleasurable items with me. They might be photos of past events or maybe even a plush toy that I would then gift the friend.

Health is so fragile. Friendships are so valuable, especially the long ones.

janbb's avatar

It might depend for me on how close a friendship it was but I think for almost anyone, it would brighten their day to have a visitor even if they didn’t recognize you. So I would try going from time to time as @Hawaii_Jake suggests and see if you felt it was positive for them.

You also don’t mention how inconvenient it is for you to visit where they are nor how painful it might be but if the friendship had a great deal of meaning, I would try to go some. If there were the possibility of another friend joining you, sometimes two people chatting during a visit makes it easier for all.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Yes I would. If not for the friend, for myself-knowing I was there for him/her, and the family. Seems like the right thing to do.
If my going caused agitation or anything negative, I may choose to visit the family instead of my friend.

It really hurt my feelings that when mom was on hospice many chose not to visit. At some point she didnt know any of us, but I highly value those who loved her to the end with me.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Yes. It’s happening right now with my mom. She’s in a wheelchair and has dementia. She sometimes recognizes me, but more often than not doesn’t.

I visit nonetheless, it’s my mother, after all. More for me than for her.

zenvelo's avatar

@elbanditoroso My sympathies. My mom passed last November. She really had not been present when I visited her in the previous three or four years.

I have had friends who also suffered from early onset dementia. I and my fraternity brothers made a point to have them attend gatherings when possible. Few things are as joyous as seeing someone with a severe illness like Alzheimer’s recognize old friends and smile.

filmfann's avatar

I would double how often I see them, at least.

jca2's avatar

If the person didn’t recognize me but it was a close friend, I’d visit as often as I’d see them when they were healthy – if it was every few months, I’d visit every few months. If it was ever few weeks, I’d try to go every few weeks. If it upset them, I’d not visit as it would be detrimental to them to have me around (causing upsetness with the staff and with the friend). @Hawaii_Jake hit the nail on the head with bringing some relevant objects, so hopefully there would be a spark of recognition, or at least it could be something to talk about like a show and tell.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

I can think of a couple of life-long friends I would still visit.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

I would visit the person as often as possible. He may not remember who I am, but that won’t stop him from enjoying my company. She might forget my visit after I leave, but she can be pleased in the moment.

I hope your question is a hypothetical what-if, but it does describe reality. You’re describing my mother, who passed away from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. I spent time with her every day. She was always glad to see me, and she’d become very happy and animated when we were together. Once, I had to be away for an entire week; when I returned, she grabbed my hands and started to cry.

Zaku's avatar

Being kind, even to complete strangers, has good purpose.

What I’d choose to do exactly would depend on how close a friend they were, and what other support they had.

JLeslie's avatar

I’d still visit, especially if in the moment while I was there they were seeming to get some happiness from the interaction even if they didn’t know who I was.

If they have family and other people who visit, I would see them less than if I was the only one nearby. I wouldn’t want them to be alone for days on end.

I don’t understand “ending the friendship.” Even if you never visit it wouldn’t be ending the friendship. You still care about them, wish things were different, you didn’t have a fight or a break up, it’s just a very sad situation where much of it is out of your control.

SnipSnip's avatar

Ignore everything except would you see your friend. Of course I would because I would also be his or her friend.

mazingerz88's avatar

@JLeslie That’s pretty much a dead friendship especially if you stopped calling even your friend’s wife to find out how your friend is doing.

I understand there could be no point in talking to your sick friend or even his wife for whatever reason…but caring about your friend mentally is not any sort of friendship in my view. It’s useless therefore it’s dead.

seawulf575's avatar

I think the term “friend” is key here. There are “friends” that you get together with periodically that you are friendly with and then there are “friends” that you truly care about, that you have a nice history with, that you would walk through fire for (and they would walk through fire for you). I think most people have a lot of the first type and only a few of the second.

If this friend happens to be the second type, why would you even question this? If it were me and it was the second type, I’d have to see them. They are as close or closer than family. Even if they are having problems remembering you, you are there for them.

Kropotkin's avatar


As far as I’m concerned, once the memory has gone, so has their identity. They’re not the person you knew, or anyone really.

If I were ever in the friend’s situation, I would not only not expect or care for visits (I’d be oblivious to their meaning)—I would prefer to be euthanised.

LifeQuestioner's avatar

Why would I stop being friends with them? Did I stop caring about my mom when she got dementia? She never got to the stage where she couldn’t remember us anymore, but even if she had before she passed, I would have loved her just as much and I would have kept caring for her. And I would react the same way to a friend.

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