Making New Friends

Making New Friends

Since my diagnosis 7 years ago, I have become very active in the lung cancer community. It started small by volunteering with a local organization, but then I went all in. I work with several advocacy groups educating patients and the public, mentoring the newly diagnosed, and fighting for more research funding. I travel a lot to conventions to share my story in hopes of helping others.

Finding a way to give back

After I was forced to “retire” I needed to find a new purpose and a way to contribute to society. I love giving back to my community and I volunteer with various groups every week. I’ve always worked in customer service and the healthcare field so advocating for others seemed like the perfect fit. But lately I’ve been feeling like I need more. It can get exhausting and overwhelming at times and I often need to take breaks.

My kids are grown (27 and 18) and my daughter recently moved out to go to college. My husband travels a lot for work so my house has become very quiet. Too quiet. I have been actively raising children for 27 years (more than half my life) and my title of MOM has always taken priority. My most fulfilling jobs are being a wife and mother. I guess I’m trying to figure out who I am now and what to do with my time.

How to meet new friends

Like many others, I have lost friends after my diagnosis for various reasons. So how do you make new friends when you don’t work outside the house? This is a challenge for me and I sometimes wish I still worked. I have a few church friends, but most are over 65 and we don’t have much in common. The majority of my friends have cancer which comes with its own set of challenges. I want a few friends, that don’t have cancer, that I can go out to eat with and sit and talk with about normal life stuff. I even went as far as Googling “how to meet new friends.” Does anyone else have this problem?

Putting myself out there

I recently joined a women-only site looking for friends to socialize with. I created a profile and began searching. I assume this is what it’s like to search on a dating site, but I’m looking for platonic friendships. I only signed up for the free version so I can’t filter them very much. I found myself reading bios and ignoring all the ones too young or too old or those with small kids. Reaching out and sending a message to another stranger with common interests felt strange and very awkward, but I did it.

Is this crazy? Maybe, but I’m tired of being bored and a little lonely and could really use a life away from the lung cancer community. I welcome any suggestions that may have worked for you. I’ll keep you posted on my social life.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


View Comments (5)
  • Donna Fernandez moderator
    1 month ago

    Lysa, I have different groups of friends (or acquaintances anyway … not sure the “friend” label completely fits in most cases). I have my lung cancer friends, I have agility friends, I have friends I met because of the kind of dogs I have…

    I can completely understand why you would feel the need to get away from lung cancer only. I spend a lot more time with my friends who do not have lung cancer than with those who do. It is nice to have friends who understand completely what it is like to have LC, but it is also really nice to be away from it, to be “normal,” so to speak.

    I don’t know if you have a Cancer Support Communities program near you, but I enjoy going to activities there. Everyone there has some connection to cancer, but I have rarely discussed cancer when there and have no idea what kinds of cancer people have. They cater to anyone touched by cancer – family, friends, patient – so it is entirely possible to meet people who have never had cancer there.

    What about at the gym? Have you met people there that you might get to know better? I have a good friend (non-LC) who made a ton of great friends at her gym (Curves). They go out to eat, take trips, celebrate birthdays, everything.


  • Lysa Buonanno moderator author
    1 month ago

    Thank you Donna. I don’t really talk to people at the gym. I actually wrote this 2 months ago and have connected with 2 women to hang out with. One knows I have cancer because she asked how I got into advocacy but the other does not. It’s nice to talk about kids and life and not cancer. I recently started taking free classes (art, yoga, meditation) at a cancer place and I have made a few friends there too.

  • Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo moderator
    1 month ago

    @lysabee – I know my mom felt a sigh of relief when she met people at her clinic appointments. She even made a few attempts to join a support group. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to socialize and meet people in similar situations. Let us know how it turns out. Best!

  • Lysa Buonanno moderator author
    1 month ago

    thanks! I’ve met 2 women that I go out to eat with, movies, painting classes, etc. It’s been nice.

  • Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo moderator
    4 weeks ago

    That’s wonderful!

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