Ignoring is condoning. Ask don’t assume.

What you ignore you permit. What you permit you condone.

If you want to know something just ask. Don’t assume and DON’T listen to gossip.

In the last 13 months a lot has happened. It has led me to be disappointed in people. I thought that as humans, we were compassionate, kind and empathetic. Now I know that, unfortunately, it is only the minority of us who possess these traits. I have been through what can only be described as the toughest time of my life and people, who I thought would be there for me, were not.

I’m not going to try and make excuses for them or explain why they have behaved in this way. I can’t do that because I simply don’t understand their actions at all.

Rather than go into the details of what happened (maybe another time), I want to help you understand how to react if someone you know is struggling. Don’t get me wrong -the friends who were with me through everything did a great job of supporting me but I was disappointed in the lack of support from some people.

Yes people have their own lives, work, family etc and in our culture today we are always “busy”. But, to me, it is completely unfathomable that people would simply forget about someone who they knew was going through something so difficult.

I don’t know anyone who has gone through what I did, but I would like to think that if any of my friends were struggling I would be there for them. I’m not talking about turning up at their house every day for an hour long update of how they are feeling; I just mean checking in, acknowledging what has happened, listening to them and trying my best to offer words of comfort. I can count on one hand the number of people who did that for me.

I would by no means call myself popular, but there were previously a lot more people in my life than what there are now and I expected more of them.

Perhaps that’s where the flaw is – I set my expectations too high. Yet I don’t think it is too much to expect people to want to be there for their friends. Surely that’s what friendship is.

In our world of busy-ness which friend do you want to be? Take the time to stay in touch. Even if you haven’t spoken for a while, just send a message and say “I’m sorry I haven’t been in touch, I wasn’t sure what to say to you but I’m sorry about what has happened. I’m here to listen if you want to talk about it.” Nothing complicated or scary and it will be appreciated more than you know. It doesn’t matter how much time may have passed. Take the time to find out how things felt from this person’s perspective. Don’t be afraid that you will be perceived as nosey, it is better for you to hear the story from the person who experienced it, rather than listen to gossip or hearsay.

If you don’t address what has happened you are condoning it by your lack of condemnation. And yet if you haven’t heard the full story it would be foolish of you to condone what has gone on. You might have heard the story from others but you don’t know what it was like to live through the situation and you are probably not aware of the full details. There are two sides to every story and if you’ve only heard one then you are in no position to make any judgement.

What you ignore you permit. What you permit you condone.

If you want to know something just ask. Don’t assume and DON’T listen to gossip.