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Article 27 -A Friend in Need.docx

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PSYC 3690
Benjamin Gottlieb

Article 27 Title of Article: A Friend In Need -Main Purpose: looks at illness and friendship -“A friend in need is a friend indeed” suggests 2 concepts of friendship 1. Dependence 2. Altruism -Chronis illness works to bond and barrier -An opportunity for intimacy –friends can show concern -Reveals deepest fears and longing and pulls them out of proportion -Friends most often disappear in the face of crises b/c they don’t know how to respond or feel a sense of powerlessness -“Advantage of chronic illness is that friends who initially feel awkward and shy away often have time to make up for it -People in your life become more visible as they offer help in times of illness -Friendships require more than dependable altruism if the friend sticks around in times of recovery or remission –requires genuine empathy and seeing the individual not just a sick person (see and affirm healthy aspects of personality) -People distinguish b/w kind gestures at esp. valuable support, understand that illness is isolating and tedious as well as physically debilitating and adjust their habits to the person’s capacity -Need to be in tune w/ the person’s needs -Practical help is always appreciated but certain kinds stand out based on empathy shown (e.g. not just offering to take kids, but stay at their home w/ them and stick to daily routines or spending time w/ person and kids so they don’t get exhausted) -Small gestures that show genuine understanding and willingness to share in distress are just as welcome as major commitments -Illness only scares off a few friends and usually temporarily –calls forth generosity and brings new friends closer but initial feeling of buoyancy doesn’t last forever -W/ intermittent and invisible illness the need never ends it subsides or signs are subtle –help may need to be solicited in these cases which is when the awful specter of dependence intrudes -Deciding who to ask for help involves assessing the friendship and anticipating the strains that might be placed on them -People don’t like to ask for help –admission of helplessness (contradicts values of independence, self- reliance, etc.) which diminishes self-esteem esp. for men who really embrace masculine stereotypes -For men, wives are a primary source of support is their wives -Married women on the other hand express surprised gratitude when their husbands show empathy but are more likely to turn to female friends -women who do avoid reliance friends seem to do so b/c of self-doubt (v.s. the confidence men feel in their ability to handle things) -Reluctance to bother people very common among women –easy to interpret this as the ‘female’ characteristic of consideration for others, but has as much to do w/ feeling unworthy of special attention -Both men and women show horror of being regarded as needy -People who rely to heavily on others for practical and emotional support risk becoming burdensome -Friends may feel gratified for helping at first but then come to resent the intrusions -Hard to know where the limit is -Some friends end up continuing to provide practical support but w/draw emotionally -In some cases a convo about it helps… tell the friend I am free to ask for help if you are free to say no - knowing that friends will decline rather than harbor
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