It’s interesting to look back and see how easy friendships used to be. In high school and even in college, friends were one of the very most important parts of life. It was easy to make and keep friendships going. Something happened between then and now though, and it is has increased with each big life change and each new baby. I used to be a good friend. I’d initiate phone calls and hanging out and making plans. I could listen for hours about anything and offer advice and compassion and companionship. I’d show up. I’d be there. But not anymore. Now I don’t call. I rarely text unless you text first. I hardly ever actually show up. I’d love to pretend that I don’t know I’m a bad friend, but it’s pretty obvious. I’ve thought a lot about it lately, mainly because I’ve been kind of lonely, and I’ve come up with (at least) five reasons I’m a horrible friend.
- I’m painfully introverted. So much so that I’m flaky, distant, and private. I want to talk to you on the phone, but texting is much easier for me. Going out in groups is hard and makes me want to sit in a quiet corner alone. I’m essentially a hermit and that makes it pretty hard to be a good friend. If you can look past all of this, though, I’m super loyal and trustworthy. I’ll love you to pieces and pick you up when you’re down, but you’re going to have to get me out of my shell first. Not many people want to put that much effort in and I don’t blame them. I’m very unlikely to make the first move and that makes me seem uninterested. I’m not. It’s just really hard for me to be social and outgoing. Add in some major trust issues from friendships gone bad, and I’m pretty much a loner.
- I’m tired. Oh my goodness, am I exhausted. I only have three kids, but I swear it seems like there are a million of them and one of me and they wear me out. When I finally have a moment of peace, I just want to collapse on the couch, in my cozy bed, or maybe in a hot bath. I’m afraid talking on the phone or making plans to do something is the last thing on my mind. Don’t get me wrong. I want to go out away from my house and I really do want to have some fun, but I just don’t remember to actually do anything about it.
- Life is hard. It so is, isn’t it? I had a few rough years of uncertainty and responsibilities that made me anything but fun. I know I wasn’t happy-go-lucky or even moderately exciting during that time, and that’s not really what you want in a friend, right? And then, as if I wasn’t scattered and weary enough, we had a sweet little baby. Any tiny bit of fun that was left in me was totally gone. Add in the whole postpartum mess and I don’t blame anyone for not wanting to be around me. If you look up downer in the dictionary, I’m pretty sure you’ll see my face. True story.
- I’m insecure and I have nothing to offer. Well, at least that’s how I feel about myself a good part of the time. See? Told you I’m insecure. But really, I don’t have a lot to offer. I don’t have much time to spend chatting or texting, and, as I said before, I don’t really go out much. If you are my friend and you need me, I’ll drop everything to help you, but as for the day to day friending? I’m not very good at it.
- I’m not very dependable. It’s true and I hate it about myself, but at least I admit it. I have the very best intentions, honestly, but following through is not my strong suit. See number 2. And 3. Those both make me even less likely to be dependable than my introverted nature. I’m awesome in emergencies, but not awesome in normal daily life.
When I read all of this about myself, it’s a little sad. But it’s me and it’s true. I don’t believe in pretending to be someone I’m not, so I won’t pretend to be a good friend. I do hope that at least part of this is just a season of my life and that it will change. That I will change. I want to be better. I want to be fun and outgoing and exciting and maybe someday I will be. For now, though, this is my reality and I accept it for what it is.