Acceptance Vs. Understanding

Learning to love people better

Shefali O'Hara


Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash

The other day I had a friend over for a visit.

I had explained to her before she came over that, thanks to cancer and an early morning visit to Texas Oncology followed by session with my physical therapist, I was low energy.

She still acted hurt when I told she’d have to leave after about an hour.

I understood.

After all, she’s only 23 years old.

Adolescents have always been self-centered. I know I was when I was in my teens. These days, people often act like that into their late 20s/early 30s.

However, later in the conversation I was a bit more outspoken with her.

She was talking about her plans for the coming week.

One reason I’d agreed to see her that day even though I was busy and knew I’d be tired — because she would be out of town from Wednesday morning until Sunday night and she sent me a text saying she really missed me. I hadn’t seen her in several months, and if I do chemo I probably won’t want to see anyone for a while.

So I asked her over and while we chatted she shared her upcoming plans.

She was really excited — one of her college friends was now a working model and she was going to be walking the runway in a neighboring city. My friend and several other sorority sisters were driving down to show their support at the show. After, they planned to stay through the weekend, having an extended party/sleepover.

My friend said she hadn’t spent time with this group for a while, because it was hard to plan a get-together.

Part of this might be because, while most of the group is now working, my friend is not. So she often seems to have time on her hands and is lonely and bored.

However, she is very supportive of her friends.

Unfortunately, instead of just being happy to be spending time with people she cares about and going to an exciting event, she is unhappy because one of her friends will be leaving Saturday instead of Sunday night.

“Do you know why she is leaving?” I asked, trying to be sympathetic.



Shefali O'Hara

Cancer survivor, writer, engineer. BSEE from MIT, MSEE, and MA in history. Love nature, animals, books, art, and interesting discussions.